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Positive Impacts of Wood to Nature and Our Lives

Wood is one of the most important parts of nature. Choosing and using wood in living areas have physical and psychological benefits.


Müzeyyen Pehlivan
Müzeyyen Pehlivan
Positive Impacts of Wood to Nature and Our Lives

Wood is one of the most important parts of nature. Choosing and using wood in living areas have physical and psychological benefits. The principal benefits are;

*Improving the person's emotional situation and self-expression level

*Decreasing in blood pressure, heart and stress rates,

*Helping to increase indoor air quality by balancing the humidity.

In addition to these benefits of wood, one of the foremost details is increasing the quality of life. Considering its sustainable use, it has a significant positive impact on our environment. For example, its long-term carbon storage feature is one of the ultimate subsidiaries in combating climate change.

 

Carbon Conversion and Storage of Carbon

The trees and wood products have the unique ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it.  The trees take CO2 through photosynthesis and convert it into oxygen and give it to us. To produce 1kg of wood, a tree consumes 1.47kg of carbon dioxide and returns just 1.07kg of oxygen to the atmosphere.

So shall we not cut any trees? No. On the contrary, rejuvenation of forests is highly necessary. The capacity of a tree to absorb carbon declines with age as growth slows down, the decay of organic material increases therefore it begins to release CO2. Carbon storage does not continue in the ecosystem. In short, young forests have a higher capacity to absorb carbon than mature forests. For example, a plantation maintains between one and ten tonnes of carbon per hectare per year, and this continues for 30 years. After that, the carbon storage capacity starts to decrease. For this reason, continually renewing the felled trees by growing trees ensures the continuation of carbon absorption.

When trees are harvested and used to make wood products, the carbon remains stored in the wood for the life of the product. About 50 percent of the dry weight of wood is carbon. In other words, harvesting the tree does not return carbon to the atmosphere conversely; the wood products play a key role in removing carbon from the atmosphere.

The use of harvested trees in production means an increase in healthy and environmentally friendly products in our lives. The more usage of wood means the decrease of using other raw materials that are non-environmentally, non-renewable, and require large amounts of fossil fuels to produce.

Finally; wood is the best material in order to combat climate change. In addition to removing carbon from the atmosphere, it is also important to reduce carbon emissions to the atmosphere. A tree achieves both of these processes perfectly.

Lifecycle

The evaluation of the life cycle of a product starts by calculating where the raw material of that product comes from, how it manufactures, how it will be destroyed or reused when it expires. It includes briefly three stages:

1. Production Phase: The amount of energy used in extracting from the soil or harvesting, producing, and transporting where it is transformed into a product is the beginning of this cycle. Pollutant emissions such as energy and CO2 are assumed to be 'embedded' in raw materials. Therefore, embedded energy is the energy required for the process from extraction/harvesting of the raw material to its processing and transportation to the area where it will turn into a product, and it constitutes a significant amount of the energy used in the whole production process.

Each raw material must be extracted from its source, processed, and finally transported to the place where it will be produced, so for these operations energy resources are wasted and environmentally polluting substances are expanded into the biosphere. The energy expended during this entire process is essential for technological development, but at the same time, it jeopardizes the quality of the biosphere and its viability, leading to unwanted side effects.

Considering that energy consumption causes greenhouse gas emissions, it is clear that the substances and products that we choose have a significant impact on both the climate and world ecology. In general, we can say that the more embedded energy equals the more CO2 emissions. Wood is one of the least energy-consuming raw materials until it becomes ready for production. Harvesting from the forest requires little energy. Wood-based semi-finished or finished products consume less energy. Wood is not a raw material that consumes a lot of energy in the process of transformation into a product.

In the production of roughly sawn wood, far fewer fossil fuels are needed than steel, concrete, and aluminum. The production of timber requires 1.5 MJ / kg of energy, while aluminum consumes 435 MJ / kg of fossil fuel. In many of its other forms, wood generally uses much less energy. The energy consumed to produce one kilogram of steel is roughly 9.8 kilowatt-hours.

2. Usage Stage: We have already mentioned the benefits of wooden products for our health. Besides, easy maintenance and repair of wooden products and less energy consumption reduce the amount of embedded energy on it.

3. After Useful Life: Wood and wood-based products have a unique after-use value. It is a renewable and versatile raw material. It produces minimum waste. This small amount of waste is collected during the processing of logs and wood products, then almost all of it is used as either raw material or energy source for another product.

The average useful time of wood varies depending on the product, the climate used, the place, and many other factors. It can be used for decades or even hundreds of years if taken good care of. At the end of this lifetime, wood can be reused, maintained, or transformed into another product. Beyond that, the wooden products expired can be used as a carbon-neutral energy source instead of fossil fuels.

The usage areas of old woods are quite diverse. So much so that some craftsmen who make wooden musical instruments collect wood used for violin, piano, and flute. Thus, they will catch a sound similar to antique instruments.

There are two main differences between wood and other raw materials:

1. Wood can regrow and renew in a relatively short time, between 25 and 80 years. The raw materials of brick, concrete, and steel can only renew after a geological time has passed.

2. The character of wood varies according to age, environmental factors, how it is looked after, and user preferences. The qualities of underground minerals do not change significantly in a "human" time.

In brief, wood is a renewable, recyclable, environmentally friendly, and aesthetically authentic raw material. Using products made of wood that has consciously harvested and replaced with young trees is doing the world a favor.

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