North American hardwoods: the abundance factor
Those who fear that forests are being stripped of valuable trees in order to provide hardwood flooring surfaces may find a great deal of reassurance in figures emerging from the United States Forest Service, which oversees the nation’s natural wood resources. According to the US Forest Service, American hardwoods will not be “running out” anytime soon.
In fact, the volume of hardwoods growing in forests located in the United States increases each year by approximately ten billion cubic feet. While some of this increase is due to the natural growth of existing trees, much of it can also be attributed to new plantings of trees intended to replace those that are harvested. Harvesting, itself, however, only accounts for about six billion cubic feet each year. As a consequence, the wood volume present in US forests is growing at a steady rate. By some estimates, the total volume has almost doubled during the previous 50 years.
Local soil and moisture conditions means that various species are not distributed uniformly among the forests. An overall view of species abundance points to red and white oak being by far the most common hardwoods in the nation, with more than 50% of all hardwood trees being one of these two varieties. This explains their popularity in hardwood flooring applications. Poplar and maple are also quite abundant. All of these varieties stand up well to hardwood floor sanding and polishing, which wood floors will occasionally need during their usual lifetime.