At Vermont Wood Studios, there is no denying it; we love trees. The business was actually founded on Peggy’s passion for forest conservation. Not only do trees provide wood that we use to make furniture, but they’re also a vital component of our ecosystem.
Trees provide many benefits to the various living organisms that inhabit planet earth. Below are some 'treemendous' facts about trees and how they make the world a better place.
1.) They are Carbon Suckers
A mature tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. By the time a tree reaches 40 years old, it has sequestered one ton of carbon from the atmosphere. By sequestering carbon, trees help reduce the negative effects of climate change.
2.) They Produce Oxygen
VWS founder Peggy Farabaugh stands in front of a tree in the Amazon Rainforest, which has been the target of illegal deforestation over the past several decades in support of manufacturing cheap, imported wood furniture. The Amazon rainforest is often referred to as the "lungs of the planet" based on how much oxygen the forest produces.
Did you know that one large tree can provide enough oxygen for four people? How do trees produce oxygen? Through photosynthesis, trees pull in carbon dioxide and water, then use energy from the sun to convert the carbon dioxide and water into sugars that feed the tree. Through this chemical reaction, oxygen is released as a by-product into the atmosphere.
3.) They Have a Secret Underground Social Network
You may not be able to see it on your typical walk through the woods, but deep underneath the forest floor lies their social network: the 'wood wide web.' Here, communities of trees' roots are intertwined in an amazingly complex and sophisticated way. Through the roots of every tree, nutrients are transferred and messages of threats are communicated to the entire community through a network of fungi called mycelium, or best known as the mycorrhizal network.
4.) They Make Durable and Sustainable Furniture
This Cherry Moon Dining Table by Maple Corner Woodworks is handcrafted in Vermont with sustainably harvested North American wood, just like all our wood furniture.
Wood is a renewable material, meaning you can regrow the materials and replenish what you took through sustainable forestry practices. Other materials, like metals for instance, do not naturally regenerate after the product is harvested or obtained. Since metals and other non-renewable resources are finite materials, they cannot be naturally replenished like wood. Additionally, it takes far less energy, carbon, water, and other limited resources to extract and process wood products than it does for other raw materials.
5.) They Can Help Reduce Your Home Energy Consumption
By strategically planting trees around your house, you can save upwards of 25% on your home energy bill. In the hotter months, trees provide shade for your house to save on cooling costs. In the winter, they act as a windbreak to keep your house insulated and warm.
6.) They Filter the Water We Drink
Did you know that more than half of the drinking water in the U.S. originates in our forests? How does that happen? Well, trees absorb groundwater from soil and filter out sediments and other pollutants before the water makes its way to a nearby water source. This is why it is important to have trees by water sources like rivers, streams and lakes.
7.) They are the Oldest Living Organisms on the Planet
Some trees are over 5,000 years old! Most of the world’s oldest trees are located in the Old Growth forests of California. Did you know that most older tree locations are hidden? This way, people do not try to search for them, lowering the risk of trees possibly getting damaged from human impact. Imagine being 5,000 years old!
8.) Trees Provide Animal Habitats and Increase Biodiversity
Vermont Woods Studios founder, Peggy Farabaugh, stands in front of a forest in the Rosario Butterfly Sanctuary in Mexico, where our non-profit partner (Forests for Monarchs) plants trees to counter the effects of deforestation. The branches of these Oyamel trees are being weighed down by millions of Monarch butterflies.
Trees act as a vital habitat for many animals including birds, chipmunks, squirrels, and owls, where they use trees as their shelter and for food storage. Additionally, there have been multiple studies conducted that show a significant boost in biodiversity in areas with a high density of trees. Biodiversity is important because it ensures the growth of varying plants, crops, and species, all working together in a sustainable manner. Many ecosystem functions, including purifying air and water, are enhanced by increased biodiversity.
9.) Trees Help Improve Your Mental Health
Studies show that people who spend 20 minutes or more in nature per day have lower rates of depression. Other studies have shown that in towns with high tree densities, the town had significantly lower antidepressant prescription rates.
10.) Wood is Used as Renewable Energy
Jake Checani is our land steward and facilities manager. He’s standing in front of a shed filled with 20 cords of oak, ash, birch and beech firewood that he personally cut, split and stacked on our property at Vermont Woods Studios. Photo credit: Erica Houskeeper
Often, we forget that wood is a (mostly) local renewable energy source called biomass. Heating your house with a wood stove instead of natural gas, can save you money and lower your environmental impact. The extraction process of natural gas is hugely detrimental to the environment and, most of the time, being outsourced to other countries or regions. Wood supply is generally local, helps provide local jobs, emits fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and can replenish supplies if sustainable forestry practices are in place. Make sure to buy your wood from loggers with sustainable forestry practices to support the regrowth of trees.
At stonehurst, our VWS headquarters in Vermont, we harvest about 20 chords of wood per year to heat our showroom during the winter.
We hope you enjoyed these facts about trees and hope it inspires you to protect them. Did you know that one of our missions at Vermont Woods Studio is to reforest Amazon Rainforests and other forests where our competitors, to this day, choose to remove trees illegally? To date, we have planted over 60,000 trees.
You can read more about our forest conservation efforts here.