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Wood - the superior raw material

Wood is ecologically far superior to other raw materials. Its ecological life cycle assessment is healthy and it is the only material and building material with a positive effect on the natural environment.

Healthy ecological life cycle assessment of wood

In terms of its energy- and environment-related life cycle assessment, wood is a renewable raw material that is far superior to other materials. Harvesting and processing wood uses much less energy than other raw materials. And at the end of its life, wood puts no burden on the natural environment, either, because it can be completely recycled.

Positive effect of wood on the natural environment

Manufacturing and using wood as an industrial or building material both have a positive effect on the natural environment compared to other materials. Making one cubic meter of lumber releases a mere 50 kilograms of carbon as greenhouse gas CO2 (for example, for transportation and sawmills), while producing one cubic meter of aluminum releases 22,000 kilograms.

Each tree takes considerable amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2 out of the atmosphere in the course of its life and stores it in the form of harmless carbon. Using wood as a material for building or other purposes relocates this storage effect. No matter whether it is used in a wooden house, in designer furniture or window frames, one metric ton of dry building timber stores roughly 510 kilograms of carbon, corresponding to 1.8 metric tons of CO2 which would otherwise augment the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. Roughly 36 metric tons of CO2 are stored in a single-family home made of wood, for instance. And the longer the service life of a wood product, the longer it holds in its CO2.

Using wood is the same as environmental protection

Sustainable forestry and wood exploitation thus diminish the increase of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, help counteract the greenhouse effect and does no damage to forests. Especially if the wood is used according to the principle of sustainability, this means that only as much wood can be harvested as will grow back.

Wood offers potential

In the temperate forests of the Northern Hemisphere – especially in North America and Europe – less wood is taken out than grows back. That is why the forested area in these regions is growing, as is the amount of wood. Thus the forests still offer considerable potential for exploitation without violating the rules of sustainable forestry. At present, ten percent of the world's forests are enough for the sustainable supply of the entire industrial need for wood – including paper. Nowadays, wood is still primarily used as a source of energy – around 55% of all wood harvested is used as fuel, mostly in the Southern hemisphere.

10% percent of the world's forests can supply the entire industrial need for wood on a sustainable basis.
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