This is podcast number five, and today our topic is forestry.
Let’s look at some vocabulary:
- Forestry: the science of growing trees
- Hardwood: In general––but not always––hardwood comes from trees that lose their leaves annually. Hardwood is usually slow-growing and the wood is dense.
- Softwood: Softwood is more common than hardwood. It usually comes from trees that remain green year-round, like pine trees for example.
- Timber: refers to standing trees, or trees that have been cut down
- Lumber: timber that has been cut into smaller pieces for construction
- Pulpwood: wood suitable for use in paper manufacturing
- Logger: somebody who harvests lumber or timber for a living
- Cutting cycle: a period of time between the harvest of trees
- Sawmill: a factory where logs are sawed into lumber by machines
- Virgin forest: an area of old trees that has never has been harvested by humans
- Tree farm: A privately-owned, managed forest to produce timber.
Let’s talk about forestry. Forestry is the science of growing trees. People grow trees for ecological or economic reasons.
The principal categories of wood are hardwood and softwood.
Trees are cut down by people know as loggers. This process of cutting down trees to get the wood is also known as harvesting. Trees, and trees that are cut down, are usually known as timber. Those big pieces of timber are transported to the sawmill and cut into lumber. Hey friends, be careful because the words lumber and timber are used differently in American and British English, but my suggestion is the use the American style, where the loggers cut down timber, which gets transported and cut into lumber at a sawmill.
Of course, one of the other important uses for trees is to make paper. Paper is made from so-called pulpwood, which is usually lower quality, or smaller pieces of timber. So, pulpwood is made into pulp, and pulp is made into paper at paper mills. By the way, did you know that paper production and consumption have been declining? There are two important reasons. The first is that people use less paper now that they work online, and the second reason is that a lot of packaging is done with plastic.
In most countries, the modern forestry industry no longer relies on virgin forests––which are forests that have never been harvested. Increasingly, loggers harvest timber from tree farms, where trees are planted, grown, and managed with the goal of having the shortest cutting cycle possible.
That is all for today. If you have any suggestions or comments––or if you are interested in our English courses for economists, please send me a note.
Image credit: CC Maxim Gavrilyuk