Demand the Appalachian Standard

The World's Finest Hardwood Lumber

The Appalachian Hardwood Region is the mountainous area between New York and North Georgia with an approximate boundary at the 1,000-foot altitude contour.  Within this area grow the finest hardwood timber to be found in the world.

Thousands of years ago this area was bounded on the north by glaciers and on the east, south and west by a shallow sea. When the glaciers receded and the seas subsided, the mountains were the garden spot that seeded the surrounding areas.  All species of trees found in the east are also found in these mountains. For nearly 200 years after the settlement of the coastal plains, the Appalachian mountains were the "Far West."  The first white man to explore the Appalachian mountains is reported to have been Desoto in about 1540.  He made no real settlement and few pioneers attempted to cross the rugged mountain ranges.  Hunters who ventured into these lush mountains returned with glowing tales of the grandeur of the country.

With the discovery of Cumberland Gap about 1750, a relatively easy route became available across the mountains.  However, westward migration did not start until 1779 when Daniel Boone was commissioned by the Virginia Legislature to build a road through the Gap.  He built what became known as the "Wilderness Road." From 1779 to 1795 a steady stream of settlers flowed across the mountain trail.  Few stopped to settle in the rugged mountains to work out a living.  Most of the people moved on through the mountains into the low rolling hills and river bottom lands of central Kentucky and beyond.

The results of this migration can be seen in the timber stands of the region today.  Within the Appalachian mountain territory there are vast areas of forest land containing billions of board feet of timber.  Farther west beyond the mountains in Kentucky and Tennessee, the forest lands are mostly small tracts and farm wood lots.

When steam boat traffic started on the Ohio River, travel largely left the overland route, and the mountain section was nearly isolated from the outside world.  Scattered logging operations were active near the river courses as early as 1825.  However, it was not until about ten years after the Civil War when deposits of coal and iron were discovered that the railroads pushed into the mountains providing new transportation systems.  The coming of the railroads was important to the timber industry because it provided outlets for the forest products so bountiful in the country.  The demand for forest products, job opportunities, and new accessibility made the mountains more hospitable and hundreds of new settlements were established along the rail junctions.

Lumbermen from New England and New York and Pennsylvania were looking for new sources of timber, having moved through the virgin forests of the northeast.  Here was a new area of timber, the grandeur of which they had never seen.  Great band mills were built throughout the mountains to saw the giant poplar, oak and ash.  These Appalachian hardwoods found their way into furniture, flooring, wall paneling, railroad ties and hundreds of other products.  They matched in elegance and beauty the foreign woods favored by woodworking craftsmen of the day.

The area remains primarily a timber-producing region because the rugged nature of the country discouraged extensive land clearing for farming and conditions of soil, climate and topography are nearly perfect for growing trees.  The Appalachian mountains, which represent about 15 percent of the hardwood forest land area, furnish more than 20 percent of the total hardwood lumber production.

The story of early hardwood harvesting in the Appalachians is one of popularity for the different species.  The first loggers went into the woods and cut white oak and yellow poplar 24 inches and larger in diameter.  Timber harvest in the mountains continued to rise, with peak production reached in 1909 and 1910.

During this period of timber production, the supply seemed infinite.  Mammoth machines moved through the woods, knocking down what was not harvested and leaving great quantities of wasted wood in their wake.  Following the harvests, fires often moved through the area, burning not only trees, but the soil as well, causing serious damage to the forest environment.  The miracle of nature provided the vitality to recover from the devastating fires and today the forests have regenerated.

In the old days of virgin timber, trees were cut for use and to clear the land.  Now, with our frontier gone and our second growth timber before us, we are growing trees for use and changing our forest practices to meet not only the demands of today but the anticipated demands of generations to come.  Today, landowners and operators alike have professional foresters in their employ who guide the destiny of our public, private and industrial forests.

As our ancestors found wood important to their daily lives, we find it essential today.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live a week without touching anything that required the cutting of a tree.  There would be no newspapers, magazines or books.  Food would be very hard to find.  New homes could not be built.  Railroads could not operate.  There would be no paper products---no toilet tissue, paper napkins, bags, boxes or containers.

Fortunately for all of us, we will not run out of wood in the immediate future.  Trees are our only major renewable resource. Unlike the oil and mineral resources of this nation, trees can go on forever.  If we are intelligent enough as a society to grow, harvest and manage trees scientifically, we can count on a bountiful supply of wood forever.

In the harvesting, sawing and processing of logs in the Appalachian region, thousands of jobs are created.  People are needed to cut the trees, saw them into logs and haul them to sawmills.  There the logs are cut into lumber.  Other manufacturing plants process them into flooring, cabinets, panels, furniture and various finished products.

Wood industry jobs now require highly skilled people and provide lifetime occupational employment for those who want meaningful productive work.  Altogether the basic forest industries of the Appalachian region employ more than 50,000 people, with payrolls generating millions of dollars.  Thus, you can see the forests of this region play and important part in the daily economic lives of residents.

Forest management practices in the region are making rapid strides.  Future progress will depend on public cooperation and support.  Trees were put here to use.  Remember, timber is our only major natural resource.

There is a direct relationship between the quality of timber and the quality of all other forest resources.  When trees are maintained in a healthy vigorous condition, all other resources benefit.  When trees are "cultured" or managed, watershed values, wildlife food and cover, recreational opportunities, and all other enjoyment values for people are the greatest.

U.S. Forests Appalachian Forest Tree Growth Forest Quantity U.S. Forestry Begin Forest Practices The Future

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  Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers, Inc., P.O. Box 427, High Point, NC 27272 | Tel. (336) 885-8315