The Current State of Our Wood Commodity

Author: George Zapo
Published: February 16, 2012 at 8:01 pm


Of all the commodities available to humans, wood is the most active product in today’s economy.

Wood products are used in practically all marketing and manufacturing practices.

Consider the amount of paper products used in developed countries like Canada, the United States, and Europe; photocopies, newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and other paper consumables. The total annual wood product consumption worldwide is more than plastic and steel use combined.

Recent information pertaining to this last year’s Christmas tree purchases indicate that Americans spent over $3.4 billion on buying Christmas trees in 2011.  According to Bloomberg’s research, American expenditures for Christmas trees in 2011 breaks down to $800 million spent on 25 million real pine trees and $2.6 billion on 10 million artificial trees. 

Of the artificial trees imported from China, 85% are reported to have lead poisoning and flammable concerns.  Approximately 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the U.S. alone.  Germany spends over $917 million per year and Canada over $60 million.  

Another fact worth considering is that half of the wood used globally is for fuel. Close to two billion people are dependent on wood and charcoal as their only source of heat and cooking. And 1.5 billion people have less fuel wood to provide for their needs.

Deforestation is taking place in many parts of our world, today. Many industries are cutting down tropical and temperate forests to make soy and palm oil products. The logging industry is trying to supply the international demand for timber. Due to population and poverty pressures people are converting forests to farmland and cutting large areas of forests for fuel wood. And the mining, dam, and oil industries are cutting trees down for roadways.

Many of the products obtain from clearing these forests are gasoline, oil, food, cosmetics, palm oil, paper products, aluminum, metals, gems, and electronic components, to name a few. According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, (FAO) the estimate tropical forests in places like Africa and Brazil lose about 1 acre (the size of a football field) every second, every day. Countries like Haiti was once 80 percent covered with forest; only to have their forest destroyed leaving their land eroded and unproductive.

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Article Author: George Zapo

George Zapo concentrates on providing sound advice on global, public, and environmental health. Visit George's blog at:

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