The American forest grows four cubic meters per minute

For years ZEITRAUM has been sourcing the wood of the American walnut and American cherry from family-owned companies in Missouri and Pennsylvania. These companies are members of the American Hardwood Export Council, AHEC and operate sustainably and transparently of their own accord.

Travelling through the American forests we have met the private owners and entrepreneurs who spend each and every day in the heart of nature. According to studies by the US Forest Service, the ownership of family forests is focused on their beauty and recreational value, as well as the protection of the flora and fauna (see AHEC, 2018). Economic aspects are of secondary importance: instead of felling trees on a large scale, individual trees or small groups of trees are harvested per hectare. After harvesting, the forest owners rely on natural regeneration of the forest. The soil of untreated, fertile forest floors provides favourable conditions for growth. Squirrels are industrious little helpers that contribute to reforestation. Not every buried nut is found again and is thus a potential, newly growing walnut tree.

Squirrels are industrious
little helpers that contribute
to reforestation.

Not every buried nut is found
again and is thus a potential,
newly growing walnut tree.

Due to different climatic and geological conditions, extraordinary forest formations have emerged: in the U.S. there are around 1,000 different tree species, three times as many as in all of Europe (see MURRAY, 2007).

As in Germany, the forest area of America today covers about one third of the total area and thus covers more than 300 million hectares of land. The largest forests are located to the east and south of the U.S. Since 1920, following the clearing of agricultural land, the stock of US forests has remained more than constant. It has been growing steadily each year in the last decades. Especially east of the Mississippi, the area has increased significantly since the beginning of the 20th century. A key indicator of this is the ratio of growth to harvest. In 2016 the increase in deciduous trees in the U.S was 1.8 times higher than the number of trees harvested (see KOHNLE, 2016). According to the United States Department of Agriculture, USDA, the rapid growth is due to the fact that the forest is predominately privately owned and without an economic background.

The population of trees in Missouri and Pennsylvania are among the largest in the U.S. The walnut tree, which is highly prized by ZEITRAUM for its high quality, is at home in Missouri. With nearly 20 million cubic metres of wood, this is the largest source in the United States. And this number is increasing annually: according to analysis by the FIA, the population of walnut trees increases by an area of 521,000 cubic metres each year. The same is true for the population of cherry trees in Pennsylvania. With nearly 116 million cubic metres, this is significantly larger than the population of walnut trees in Missouri. Here, as well, the number is increasing by roughly 2.1 million cubic metres per year, according to statistics. This corresponds to roughly 4 cubic metres per minute (see AHEC, 2018).

In order to act in accordance with the standards of the European Timber Regulation, EUTR and to clarify the ecological value of the wood traded, in 2013 AHEC developed an environmental profile in cooperation with the Stuttgart-based software developer Thinkstep AG. From the ecological assessment of the individual wood species, to the increase per second, to the occurrence and the annual harvest, all environmentally-relevant data can be filtered out independently and individually (see AHEC, 2018). This not only helps the customer to make the most environmentally-friendly purchasing decisions, it also gives them a good overview of the general forest situation in the U.S. It also allows a direct comparison to other tree species and materials.