It’s Time We Treat Some Forests Like Crops

Outside Magazine

Marc Peruzzi| Photo: Kilian O’Sullivan/View Pictures/Universal Images Group/getty; David Sundberg/Esto

Believers in Mass Timber say smaller trees are the ultimate renewable construction material, but only if we learn to be smarter farmers and builders

Here’s something you probably didn’t know: the construction business accounts for an estimated 23 percent of the world’s carbon-dioxide emissions—5.7 billion tons, according to the most recent estimates. Much of this comes from the use of concrete and steel, the two biggest contributors to emissions in the building sector. As the BBC has reported, if the concrete industry were a country, it would be the third-largest emissions producer, behind China and the United States. And there’s no end in sight: the United Nations Environment Program predicts that humans will put up the equivalent of a new Paris every week for the next 40 years. In the U.S., an architectural publication predicted that some 1.9 billion square feet of new structures will be built in the next three decades. 

If only there was a sturdy and renewable building material—one that could actually help curb climate change while giving us more calming and aesthetically pleasing spaces in which to live, work, and play. 

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