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  • Writer's pictureTreecycling

Sawmill solution to deforestation

The I-Wood shapes' main contribution to the environment is their ability to manufacture two beams out of one log. By changing our perspective at the sawmill, we can reduce by up to 30% our need to cut trees. Research shows that half of all dimension lumber could be profiled in I-Wood's shapes to everyone's advantage (except the freight compa­nies!).

If we assume it takes 2 typical small diameter trees to manufacture 1 MBFM (a thousand board-feet) of lumber, this 30,000,000 MBFM is equivalent to 60,000,000 trees. We can see how the 30% fiber saving produced the I-Wood system can make it unnecessary to cut down 20,000,000 trees in America annually to satisfy the current market for wood fiber in all its forms. Savings (not costs!) to the forest industry would be in the range of billions of dollars per year.

In due course it is to be hoped that the government will see the benefits to the environment to treating the forest industry in the same way that they treat the automobile industry. The automobile industry has responded to government encouragement to increase the fuel economy of their products. There is no reason why the for­est products companies could not be encouraged to take the same approach while at the same time increasing their profitability through better use of their resources. The end result of such a governmental lead could result in a 30% reduction in tree-cutting worldwide to meet the demand for building materials.

I-Wood's shaped lumber can be used as a substitute for con­ ventional lumber in about 60% of the time when the material is used for structural purposes and 90% of the time when aesthetic considerations are involved. Compared to conventional lumber it is lighter, the joints are stronger, the wood twists and warps less and while it looks more expensive it is considerably less expensive when manufactured in volume.

The fiber milled out of the wood during the production process is about 30% of the total material. It can be used in products ranging through paper and fiber board to ethanol and pelletized fuel. Conversion to I-Wood reduces the amount of time that loggers dis­rupt the forests with their heavy equipment by 30%, without reducing the forest product companies’ profitability. In fact, sustainable forestry is becoming synonymous with sustained long-term profits.

1 MBFM of lumber is roughly equivalent to the lumber from one plantation grown tree, thirty to forty feet high and eighteen inches diameter at the base. Therefore, about 10 MBFM (or 10 trees) are used to build a good sized North American home. If I-Wood shapes are used instead of conventional lumber you, for the sake of discussion, would have twenty five percent less wood fiber in your home - equivalent to leaving almost 3 trees standing in the forest.

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