Timber recycling

Timber recycling or wood recycling is the process of turning waste timber into usable products. Recycling timber is a practice that was popularized in the early 1990s as issues such as deforestation and climate change prompted both timber suppliers and consumers to turn to a more sustainable timber source. Recycling timber is the environmentally friendliest form of timber production and is very common in countries such as Australia and New Zealand where supplies of old wooden structures are plentiful. Timber can be chipped down into wood chips which can be used to power homes or power plants.

Recycled timber
Demolishers pulling timber from an old wool store in Sydney, which will later be re-used for timber flooring


Finished recycled product
Example of recycled timber as a final product

Recycling timber has become popular due to its image as an environmentally friendly product. Common belief among consumers is that by purchasing recycled wood, the demand for "green timber" will fall and ultimately benefit the environment. Greenpeace also view recycled timber as an environmentally friendly product, citing it as the most preferable timber source on their website. The arrival of recycled timber as a construction product has been important in both raising industry and consumer awareness towards deforestation and promoting timber mills to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.

Recycling one ton of wood can save 18,000,000 btus of energy


Some hurdles facing the widespread adoption of recycled timber: sometimes the ends of wall studs need to be trimmed off to stop decay and cracking, thus resulting in a shorter piece of wood; this trimming may result in pieces of wood that do not meet building codes. Though the price may be less than for new wood, the process of selecting usable pieces of salvaged wood, pulling out nails, and refinishing for a new use can be laborious and time-consuming. Demolition must happen in such a way as to preserve as much of the timber as possible in a building, which means more time spent dismantling a building rather than just tearing it down quickly. The trade in recycled timber is not well-established everywhere, so a reliable supply of usable wood may be hard to come by for builders. There may be a stigma associated with using "used" or "cheap" wood that is perceived to be of not as high quality as "new" wood. Not all pieces of wood in a dismantled building will fit in a new building, and it may be cheaper and easier, from a design and labor perspective, to simply get new wood (ex: wood from a 6-foot (1.8 m) deck being used in a 7-foot (2.1 m) deck). Of course, none of these issues are insurmountable, and they are issues of convenience and logistics rather than structural integrity, but many builders find it easier and less time-consuming to simply get new wood in standard uniform sizes.

Recycling timber

Thai House Recycled Timber
Recycled timber salvaged from a demolished building in Trat, Thailand, is applied to make a new roof.

Recycled timber most commonly comes from old buildings, bridges and wharfs, where it is carefully stripped out and put aside by demolishers. At the same time any usable dimension stone is set aside for reuse. The demolishers then sell the salvaged timber to merchants who then re-mill the timber by manually scanning it with a metal detector, which allows the timber to be de-nailed and sawn to size. Once re-milled the timber is commonly sold to consumers in the form of timber flooring, beams and decking.


Use of recycling timber is not new. As early as 1948, the 100 metre tall tower of Golm transmitter near Potsdam, Germany was built from recycled timber. It stood for 31 years. It was common to reuse wood of dismantled radio towers in the 1930s in Germany, e.g. the former tower of Koblenz radio transmitter was built of wood from a dismantled tower, which carried a T-antenna at Transmitter Muehlacker. The upper parts of the 157-metre-tall wood tower of Ismaning radio transmitter, which stood for 49 years, were built of wood from a smaller radio tower dismantled in 1934.

See also


External links

Arbor Day

Arbor Day (or Arbour; from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant trees. Today, many countries observe such a holiday. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season.

Forest integrated pest management

Forest integrated pest management or Forest IPM is the practice of monitoring and managing pest and environmental information with pest control methods to prevent pest damage to forests and forest habitats by the most economical means. Forest IPM practices vary from region to region and particularly by state, according to the habitat and forests present. Forest integrated pest management or Forest IPM combines cultural, biological and chemical technologies to reduce pest damage to levels below those that of economic damage. Forest IPM is utilized for the whole life of the tree, from site prep to harvest. An IPM treatment is utilized before the cost of the treatment is equal to the reduction in crop value due to past injury, which is called the economic injury level. Forest integrated pest management has a strong emphasis on intensive forest management.The main components of forest integrated pest management are how pest populations change over time, forest stand susceptibility and resistance to pests, pest impact on crop value, and control strategies. Forest IPM is designed to provide the information needed to deal with multiple pest problems in a way that promotes forest management objectives.

In the state of Vermont, two common pests are of particular significance, the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid or HWA, and thrips.

Forest restoration

Forest restoration is defined as “actions to re-instate ecological processes, which accelerate recovery of forest structure, ecological functioning and biodiversity levels towards those typical of climax forest” i.e. the end-stage of natural forest succession. Climax forests are relatively stable ecosystems that have developed the maximum biomass, structural complexity and species diversity that are possible within the limits imposed by climate and soil and without continued disturbance from humans (more explanation here). Climax forest is therefore the target ecosystem, which defines the ultimate aim of forest restoration. Since climate is a major factor that determines climax forest composition, global climate change may result in changing restoration aims.Forest restoration is a specialized form of reforestation, but it differs from conventional tree plantations in that its primary goals are biodiversity recovery and environmental protection.


Forestry is the science and craft of creating, managing, using, conserving, and repairing forests, woodlands, and associated resources for human and environmental benefits. Forestry is practiced in plantations and natural stands. The science of forestry has elements that belong to the biological, physical, social, political and managerial sciences.Modern forestry generally embraces a broad range of concerns, in what is known as multiple-use management, including the provision of timber, fuel wood, wildlife habitat, natural water quality management, recreation, landscape and community protection, employment, aesthetically appealing landscapes, biodiversity management, watershed management, erosion control, and preserving forests as "sinks" for atmospheric carbon dioxide. A practitioner of forestry is known as a forester. Other common terms are: a verderer, or a silviculturalist. Silviculture is narrower than forestry, being concerned only with forest plants, but is often used synonymously with forestry.

Forest ecosystems have come to be seen as the most important component of the biosphere, and forestry has emerged as a vital applied science, craft, and technology.

Forestry is an important economic segment in various industrial countries. For example, in Germany, forests cover nearly a third of the land area, wood is the most important renewable resource, and forestry supports more than a million jobs and about €181 billion of value to the German economy each year.

Forestry law

Forestry laws govern activities in designated forest lands, most commonly with respect to forest management and timber harvesting. Ancillary laws may regulate forest land acquisition and prescribed burn practices. Forest management laws generally adopt management policies, such as multiple use and sustained yield, by which public forest resources are to be managed. Governmental agencies are generally responsible for planning and implementing forestry laws on public forest lands, and may be involved in forest inventory, planning, and conservation, and oversight of timber sales. Broader initiatives may seek to slow or reverse deforestation.


i-Tree is a collection of urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools. It was designed and developed by the United States Forest Service to quantify and value ecosystem services provided by trees including pollution removal, carbon sequestration, avoided carbon emissions, avoided stormwater runoff, and more. i-Tree provides baseline data so that the growth of trees can be followed over time, and is used for planning purposes. Different tools within the i-Tree Suite use different types of inputs and provide different kinds of reports; some tools use a 'bottom up' approach based on tree inventories on the ground, while other tools use a 'top down' approach based on remote sensing data. i-Tree is peer-reviewed and has a process of ongoing collaboration to improve it.

There are seven different i-Tree applications which can enhance an individual's or organization's understanding of the benefits which trees provide in modern society. Over the course of many years the U.S. Forest Service has developed and refined these different applications: i-Tree Eco, i-Tree Landscape, i-Tree Hydro, i-Tree Design, i-Tree Canopy, i-Tree Species, i-Tree MyTree, i-Tree Streets, and i-Tree Vue.

Index of forestry articles

This article is the index of forestry topics.

International Year of Forests

The year 2011 was declared the International Year of Forests by the United Nations to raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.

Journal of Forestry

The Journal of Forestry is the primary scholarly journal of the Society of American Foresters. It aims to advance the forestry profession by keeping professional foresters informed about developments and ideas related to the practice of forestry. The journal publishes editorial and technical content related to topics of general interest to natural resource and forest management. Articles are generally written for an audience of non-specialists, with topics spanning the many facets or disciplines of forestry. The Journal is currently edited by Don C. Bragg (USFS). According to the Journal Citation Reports, its 2016 impact factor is 1.675.

Large woody debris

Large woody debris (LWD) are the logs, sticks, branches, and other wood that falls into streams and rivers. This debris can influence the flow and the shape of the stream channel. Large woody debris, grains, and the shape of the bed of the stream are the three main providers of flow resistance, and are thus, a major influence on the shape of the stream channel. Some stream channels have less LWD than they would naturally because of removal by watershed managers for flood control and aesthetic reasons.The study of woody debris is important for its forestry management implications. Plantation thinning can reduce the potential for recruitment of LWD into proximal streams. The presence of large woody debris is important in the formation of pools which serve as salmon habitat in the Pacific Northwest. Entrainment of the large woody debris in a stream can also cause erosion and scouring around and under the LWD. The amount of scouring and erosion is determined by the ratio of the diameter of the piece, to the depth of the stream, and the embedding and orientation of the piece.

List of forest research institutes

This is a list of forest research institutes around the world, by continent and country. It includes research institutions with a primary focus on forest science, forestry, forest management, and related fields.

List of forestry journals

This list includes representative academic, peer-reviewed journals in forestry, forest science and related fields. Included are several historic but still-publishing journals of forestry, traditional scientific forestry journals, and several newer, open-access journals. More than 180 forestry journals were being published in 2008.

List of types of formally designated forests

This is a list of types of formally designated forests, as used in various places around the world. It is organized in three sublists: by forest ownership, protection status, and designated use.

Reclaimed lumber

Reclaimed lumber is processed wood retrieved from its original application for purposes of subsequent use. Most reclaimed lumber comes from timbers and decking rescued from old barns, factories and warehouses, although some companies use wood from less traditional structures such as boxcars, coal mines and wine barrels. Reclaimed or antique lumber is used primarily for decoration and home building, for example for siding, architectural details, cabinetry, furniture and flooring.

Sanitation harvest

In forestry and silviculture, a sanitation harvest or sanitation cutting is a harvest of trees for the purpose of removing insects or diseases from a stand of trees. Sanitation harvesting is used to prevent the diseases or pests from spreading to other nearby trees. It is a form of intermediate management and is used in order to improve an already existing stand of trees.

Snag (ecology)

In forest ecology, a snag refers to a standing, dead or dying tree, often missing a top or most of the smaller branches. In freshwater ecology it refers to trees, branches, and other pieces of naturally occurring wood found sunken in rivers and streams; it is also known as coarse woody debris. When used in manufacturing, especially in Scandinavia, they are often called "dead wood" and in Finland "kelo wood".

Society of American Foresters

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) is a scientific and educational 501(c) non-profit organization, representing the forestry profession in the United States of America. Its mission statement declares that it seeks to advance the science, education, and practice of forestry; to enhance the competency of its members; to establish professional excellence; and, to use the knowledge, skills and conservation ethic of the profession to ensure the continued health and use of forest ecosystems and the present and future availability of forest resources to benefit society. Its headquarters are located in Bethesda, Maryland.

Tree hollow

A tree hollow or tree hole is a semi-enclosed cavity which has naturally formed in the trunk or branch of a tree. They are found mainly in old trees, whether living or not. Hollows form in many species of trees, and are a prominent feature of natural forests and woodlands, and act as a resource or habitat for a number of vertebrate and invertebrate animals.Hollows may form as the result of physiological stress from natural forces causing the excavating and exposure of the heartwood. Forces including wind, fire, heat, lightning, rain, attack from insects (such as ants or beetles), bacteria, or fungi. Also, trees may self-prune, dropping lower branches as they reach maturity, exposing the area where the branch was attached. Many animals further develop the hollows using instruments such as their beak, teeth or claws.The size of hollows may depend on the age of the tree. For example, eucalypts develop hollows at all ages, but only from when the trees are 120 years old do they form hollows suitable for vertebrates, and it may take 220 years for hollows suitable for larger species to form.Hollows in fallen timber are also very important for animals such as echidnas, numbats, chuditch and many reptiles. In streams, hollow logs may be important to aquatic animals for shelter and egg attachment.

Hollows are an important habitat for many wildlife species, especially where the use of hollows is obligate, as this means no other resource would be a feasible substitute. Animals may use hollows as diurnal or nocturnal shelter sites, as well as for rearing young, feeding, thermoregulation, and to facilitate ranging behaviour and dispersal. While use may also be opportunistic, rather than obligate, it may be difficult to determine the nature of a species' relationship to hollows—it may vary across a species' range, or depend on climatic conditions.Animals will select a hollow based on factors including entrance size and shape, depth, and degree of insulation. Such factors greatly affect the frequency and seasonality of hollow use.Especially in Europe, entomologists are interested in the use of hollows by invertebrates. One beetle associated with hollow trees, Osmoderma eremita, has been given the highest priority according to the European Union's Habitat Directive.


Unasylva is a multilingual international journal of forestry and forest industries published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Produced in separate English, French, and Spanish editions, Unasylva covers all aspects of forestry: policy and planning; conservation and management of forest-based plants and animals; rural socio-economic development, including food security; species improvement; industrial development; international trade; and environmental considerations, including the role of forests and trees in maintaining a sustainable base for agricultural production as well as the effects of environmental change on forestry. Unasylva presents news about forest science and policy to a broad range of readers – policymakers, forest managers, technicians, researchers, students, teachers.

See also
Ecology and

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