Lyptus – is it really as green as we want it to be?

22 August 2010
There is a great, sustainable wood option out there, that the trade refers to as Lyptus. It is a fast-growing, plantation-grown tree that is a hybrid of two species of Eucalyptus. It is successfully used in reforestation efforts in Brazil to convert grazing lands back to forest. Unlike other hardwoods, it reaches harvesting maturity in only 14-16 years (as opposed to 80-100 which is common for other hardwoods). In terms of strength and durability it compares well to oak and hard maple. It has straight, even, uniform grain, and  the texture and color rivals that of mahogany and cherry. Its natural color ranges from red to light pink, and it stains beautifully, so the possibilities with this wood are endless. It compares favorably in price as well. So far so good – BUT! – nothing is ever as good as it sounds (sigh)… There is an on-going battle between the Lyptus producers Weyerhaeuser and the indigenous people in the area of the Aracruz Cellulose Mill. The quote below is from RANs blog, the Understory:

“Lyptus is produced by Weyerhaeuser through a joint venture with Aracruz Cellulose at a mill near Espirito Santo, Brazil. Aracruz plantations located in the same region as the Lyptus mill are the subject of a an extremely vigorous dispute with local indigenous communities, who say that Aracruz tree farms have devastated their homeland. Weyerhaeuser says that the Lyptus product doesnt come from the disputed area, but stops short of saying that they never get any of these trees. Locals on the ground concede that most of the trees go to feed a paper mill in the area, but say that some of the trees may be headed to the Lyptus mill on a spot-basis.”

In addition, I read on a garden forum somewhere, that growing only eucalyptus trees is extremely hard on the soil, and that the soil of the Lyptus fields are depleted of nutrients after only one harvest. I guess that makes sense – any monoculture will do that – especially a fast growing one. Go figure…

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About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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One Response to Lyptus – is it really as green as we want it to be?

  1. Pingback: It’s not easy being green | The Creative Flux

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