The Future

If the current demand for wood flooring continues, future consumers will surely have even more choices, from an ever-changing lineup of sources. Increasingly, solid wood will be considered simply as one form of a natural resource that can be chipped, peeled, ground, sliced, or otherwise disassembled and then reassembled with adhesives and various other ingredients.

Wood from sustainable forests, grown and harvested under carefully managed conditions, will be one source of new flooring material. One example is Lyptus, a natural hybrid of two eucalyptus species being grown on plantations in Brazil. According to Craig Anderson of Weyerhaeuser, which imports Lyptus flooring, 120-foot trees can be harvested about 15 years after planting; by comparison, red oak takes about 40 years to reach merchantable size, cherry 80 years. In the future, look for calculated hybridization to yield other options for fast-growing, renewable resources.

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