Robin Hood

The manager overlooking the wood lot peeks into a pile of logs at Collins Hardwood in Kane, Pennsylvania. A robin built a nest in a nook within the logs and laid her eggs. The company halted all work on the pile until the robin was through with parental business.
Wood. It’s a beautiful thing; the way it looks when sanded smooth and coated with a satin finish. The warmth it adds to a room is unrivalled in building materials. Whenever I walk into a home and see wood coated with layers of colored paint I often shake my head in a disbelief and disapproval. How could someone cover the beauty of wood?
Wood happens to be a renewable resource, meaning if you cut down a tree, plant a seed and take care of the land another tree will grow back. Nature does some crazy things. All too often though, the process starts and stops with the cutting down of the tree and then the using of it for our various purposes. The other stages of the renewable process are neglected. This is unfortunate, but there is hope.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is to the woods as the National Organic Program is to food, sort of. An “FSC Certified” piece of wood ideally means the wood came from a place like Collins Hardwood in Kane, Pennsylvania, where sustainable forestry is practiced and forests are in a constant state of renewal.
My visit to Collins was the beginning of my summer project. The Pennsylvania stop was eye-opening and gave me hope in the future of trees, our forests and humanity.

Posted June 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized.


  1. Lau:

    Great post. Folks we all, AND the production and retail companies, do have a moral obligation to check whether we can buy our wooden stuff FSC-certified. Not just timber, but also garden furniture, toys (hard to get!), doors, floors. I know it should be clearly marked; so whenever at HomeDepot, Ikea or Lowes, go check and ask. Momentarily it might be a little more expensive, but it’s worth it and if we all go for it prices will go down and companies and farmer will start investing more. Unfortunately at the moment there is a world wide shortage in FSC-certified wood. But supply will follow demand.

  2. sawdustsandi:

    In many cases FSC certified lands are self-regenerating. New England is a good example. If we selectively harvest and care for the land the trees do return.

    Growing trees on working land clean the air. During their growth cycles the trees sequester more carbon. Once harvested and processed, the wood products we place in our homes continue to sequester carbon.

    There are a number of wood products manufacturers that have invested in FSC certification only to wait for consumer markets to develop.

    Keep telling the story Jim, the business people producing the products; who, support the foresters in the forest; who, support the landowners need you to keep telling the story so the retail consumer will remember to ask for FSC.

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