How much of
a harvested tree is actually used? Is there any
The forest products industry
has found uses for nearly every part of a tree,
so virtually nothing is wasted.
Trees larger than 8 inches
in diameter, if they are of suitable quality, are
normally used in the production of solid wood products
like lumber and veneer. Large trees unsuitable for
solid wood products along with small trees between
4 and 8 inches in diameter, sawmill trimmings, and
sawdust can be used to make paper, particle board,
and many other products.
Cellulose and natural
wood chemicals are extracted and used to make everything
from plastics and food flavorings to photographic
film and chewing gum. Bark is useful for producing
dyes, adhesives, and medicines. It also can be ground
or chipped to make garden mulch, or burned in furnaces
to generate energy.
The leaves, needles,
small branches, and roots are generally left in
the forest to replenish the soil. This valuable
organic matter prevents excessive runoff after rain
and snow, and adds important nutrients to the soil
to help nurture the next generation of trees.