“Worthless” Trees

DSC09879.   Photo by Travis Hornung.


It used to be that a tree wasn’t fit for logging unless it was at least 50 inches in diameter, but now trees as small as seven-inches around are in demand, reports Jim Robbins in The New York Times (1/10/06). Small-diameter trees were just collected and burned – considered too small to command decent money even as firewood. But then a fellow – a freelance writer – named Peter Stark of Missoula, Montana, had an epiphany after thinning “his 80 acres of forest clogged with downed timber and crowded trees to prevent a fire.â€? At the time, Peter was also building a dance studio for his wife and it dawned on him that his downed larch trees could be turned into tongue-and-groove flooring and would be one heck of a lot cheaper than buying hardwood at the store.

His idea worked out so well that Peter, with some partners, started a company, North Slope Sustainable Wood, “to market small diameter larch, the hardest of the soft woods, from forests being thinned.â€?

Photo by Travis Hornung.

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