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

Born and raised in Sweden, my aesthetics and outlook on life are strongly shaped by a culture rich in history and tradition. I care a great deal about environmental responsibility, and my aesthetic reflects the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia. I was trained as an architect at the University of Cincinnati and as a color specialist at the Scandinavian Colour Institute in Stockholm. I'm obsessed with plants and gardens, and aim to take my skill set a step further by designing gardens as well as interiors. As someone so aptly said: " Architecture is the skin that separates the exterior from the interior". So true - you can't successfully focus on one without incorporating the other. I'm also an avid cook, and I love to ski. In addition, I put time and efforts into trying to rectify things that I feel are wrong in my immediate community. As you will see, The Creative Flux will touch on all these things, and more. For sure, it's all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blog!
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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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