Pound for pound,
wood is stronger than steel. Unlike steel, it is also
resilient. This combination of strength and resiliency
gives wood the ability to absorb the shock of heavy loads
providing a greater margin of safety than many other
The conversion cost of
wood--the cost of manufacturing products from the raw material--is
much less than for any other material. The expenditure of energy for
conversion is also less when converting wood. Both these factors are
important to potential users who are making
decisions on material selection. In construction of dwellings,
architects consider that wood has more than 10 times the insulating
capability of steel or aluminum and is five times more effective as an
insulator than concrete or cinder block.
Wood and wood-based products
are the most important of all man's resources for three main reasons.
First, wood is universal. It is a raw material that can satisfy
almost every requirement or existence. It provides food for man and
animals. It is one of the world's most important
sources of textile fibers. Wood is capable of producing motor fuels
and lubricants. As a building material, wood yields an astonishing
variety of plywoods, plastic and wood fiber products that can meet any
Second, wood is abundant.
More than eight billion acres, one quarter of the total earth's
surface, are forested. The known deposits of oil, iron ore, coal and
other minerals are extremely scarce compared to the wood fiber
available. Only a small fraction of the world's forest resources is
being utilized. An acre of good forest can grow, annually, several
times as much fiber as cotton and as much sugar as the same soil
planted in sugar beets.
Third, the wood resource is
inexhaustible. The forest is not a mine that will be depleted, but a
crop...provided that trees are harvested as a crop and the forest is
sustained by proper management.
THE UTILITY OF WOOD
One of nature's greatest gifts to mankind is wood. No other material
has provided so much through the centuries. Not only does it provide
food, shelter, energy for warmth and cooking, clothing, tools and
10,000 other products, but it renews itself naturally. Had we not
provided this wonderful resource, we would have been forced to invent
it. Trees take our waste carbon dioxide and provide the much needed
oxygen our world requires for life.
Think of all the consumer
products made of wood. If you add all those products that are made by
processing wood into other materials, the numbers are astonishing.
Products made from wood fiber include all kinds of paper and board
materials, cabinets, decorative woodwork, mouldings, beautiful
furniture, construction materials, sports equipment, parts for weaving
and knitting mills, flooring, home building, rayon and other fibers,
tanning chemicals and thousands of other products that touch our lives
Different products require
different kinds of trees, but in general, a cord of wood (a stack of
wood 4' x 4' x 8') can produce any of the following: