Hardwood Decking: What is Sustainability?

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Hardwood decking is a sustainable building material that is also harvested sustainably. What does sustainability mean and why should you care? Judging from what I've been reading lately, there appears to be a lot of confusion about what 'sustainability' actually means.  Sustainable design is an extremely well intentioned trend in modern architecture and design that seeks to comply with the principles of economic, social and environmental sustainability through the use of building materials, well designed systems and proper sustainable yield forestry protects the environment and the peopleconstruction methods.

The textbook definition of ‘sustainable’ is – ‘exploiting natural resources without destroying the ecological balance of an area’.  That is exactly how high density tropical hardwoods are harvested and is one of the key principles of sustainable yield forestry.  Sustainable yield forestry is the practice of cutting only as many mature trees from an area as will grow back by the end of a harvesting cycle.  Well managed forestry ensures that the hardwood decking produced from a forest is always available and with no negative (and often positive) effect on the forest.

Another definition of ‘sustainable’ is – ‘capable of continuing for a long time at the same level’. Hardwood decking lasts so long, it clearly meets this Ipe hardwood decking is a sustainable decking materialdefinition.  High density hardwood decking species, particularly Ipe decking and Cumaru decking, are known to last for forty years and longer regularly. No other decking materials, natural or synthetic, last as long as high density hardwood decking. Other hardwood decking materials such as Machiche decking, Garapa decking and Santa Maria decking are lesser known, but extremely long lasting decking materials as well. Life cycles, life cycle costs and life cycle cost per year are important measurements in sustainable design. Analysis shows that high density hardwood decking materials are the lowest life cycle cost per year of any decking material options.

Well respected environmental organizations such as the Sustainable yield forestry benefits the community and the environment.Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) understand the importance of sustainable yield forestry and the positive effects it can have on the environment, the communities and the world at large. Indeed, the FSC and similar organizations like the Rain Forest Alliance, protect the needs of the forest communities and the forest itself. Why are wood materials and particularly high density hardwoods being demonized by certain self proclaimed ‘environmental’ groups such as the Sierra Club?  I can only surmise that they are not aware of the facts and/or are ignorant of the truth about sustainable yield forestry.  Properly managed forests have an extremely positive effect on the environment and are a truly renewable resource.

Learn more about sustainable decking materials and environmentally friendly harvesting by following any of the links below:

Ipe Decking

Cumaru Decking

Garapa Decking

FSC Certified Machiche Decking

FSC Certified Santa Maria Decking

Environmental Harvesting Options


If you are interested in learning more about sustainable decking materials and other decking material options, please download "The Ultimate Guide to Building Green With Sustainable Decking". This highly regarded white paper is packed with helpful information about decking materials, sustainable harvesting and more. Download this FREE Decking Guide by clicking on the button below:

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