Deforestation is a major environmental issue in our modern world, as over harvesting and forest degradation not only significantly adds to carbon emissions (upwards of 20% of total global carbon emissions!), but also reduces the ability of forests to absorb existing carbon as well. Forests are vital ecosystems that support 80% of the world’s land animals and plants, including rare and endangered species, like the Sumatran tiger and Bornean orangutan.
What are the top sustainable wood choices for outside?
Anthology Woods is receiving increasing inquiries about the best woods to use for decking that will have long-lasting durability and a beautiful look while protecting our environment. The same species selected for Decking also make excellent choices for exterior siding in classic and rain screen applications, as well as soffit cladding. We've compiled a quick list of your best bets in terms of beautiful woods excelling in exterior durability & sustainability.
1. POST-CONSUMER RECLAIMED TROPICAL WOODS (the finest ALTERNATIVEs TO RAINFOREST IPE)
As we discussed in a previous post, the immense market demand for newly harvested tropical hardwoods for exterior applications has caused unprecedented deforestation in the Amazon Basin and elsewhere in the world. It's no wonder these woods are desirable - tropical hardwoods stand up exceptionally well to the cycles of sun, wind, rain and repeated abuse. Luckily, there are a few post-consumer reclaimed options (meaning the wood is entirely recycled from a previous use, and no trees are currently being cut to provide for your project)! You can either opt to finish your reclaimed tropical hardwood with an exterior finish or to leave it unfinished and allow it to weather. Finished wood will always last longer, regardless of species.
Reclaimed Sakhay Teak is a premium old-growth Teak reclaimed from vintage structures in Southeast Asia. The rich brown color tones & lively grain of Teak are distinctive to this species, and the natural oil & silica content in the wood makes it an exceptional choice for exterior projects.
Reclaimed Dinizia is originally from Brazil, with rock-hard density, extreme durability and excellent resistance to decay and insects. Along with Teak, Dinizia is in the class of woods that can last for decades outside.
With a Reclaimed tropical hardwood you are getting the ultimate: the best sustainability and the best durability. Your reclaimed wood comes with reclaimed character to testify visually to your part in preserving our planet, too!
2. POST CONSUMER RECLAIMED DOMESTIC WOODS PROVIDE REGIONAL AND LOCAL OPTIONS
Domestic species from reclaimed sources are very sustainable, though they are not in the same A+ class for long-lasting durability as the tropical woods are. Species like Redwood & Cedar are suitable for decking and siding, and Fir is often used in soffits or on siding with an exterior finish. Unfinished Fir will age rapidly, though it is used frequently in the northwest.
3. SALVAGED OR FSC SUSTAINABLE WOODS
Another great source can be salvaged or sustainable harvest woods. Anthology Woods has begun working with partners to bring salvaged and sustainable woods to market including domestics like redwood & cedar, and tropical Mahogany. Sources include urban, industrial, water or forest floor salvage, or in some instances, wood from sustainably managed forests. These are often excellent woods in terms of lasting service & beauty, though they seldom match the sustainability of a truly recycled wood, and rarely have as interesting of a story. Their advantage is often longer & more consistent lengths than are common for reclaimed woods.
Please contact Anthology Woods with any questions about sustainable decking, siding, or soffit wood and we'll be happy to support your project with our expertise & wide range of options!
A recent article in the Tico Times exposes continued illegal logging of Costa Rica's treasured tropical forests, including alleged links to organized crime. Increasing demand for exotic wood products contributes to the pressure on native tropcial forests, while resources to protect them are often inadequate.
Anthology Woods offers great post-consumer reclaimed tropical hardwood alternatives. Some good options are reclaimed Teak and Dinizia. Both of which are available as flooring, decking, siding and other applications. The beauty and longevity of these woods in both interior and exterior applications is unparalleled. Contact Anthology Woods today to discuss your project or request samples!
A recent story by ABC News reports that as many as half of Amazon rainforest tree species may be on the verge of extinction due to deforestation. The study, published in Science Advances, finds that depending on the degree to which deforestation comes under control in the next 35 years, between 36 and 57 percent of the 16,000 tree species in the Amazon rainforest would be considered threatened. The study, which can be read here, goes on to state that some tree species including mahogany are already "commercially extinct."
A good alternative to commercially harvested tropical woods such as Ipe or Mahogany is Reclaimed wood from Anthology Woods. Anthology Woods specializes in tropical species like Teak and Dinizia, and we are constantly on the lookout for other rare or exotic species to help fill the need for durable, beautiful and sustainable wood products.