Bright-Minded Home October


by Melissa Coleman

The brightening of leaves has me thinking about trees. Their bounty—17 million acres, or 90 percent of the state—is a key element of Maine’s beauty and fresh air. Trees, no less, are what sustain our existence, absorbing expelled carbon and giving back oxygen.


At the same time, I live in a newly constructed wood home, and my words are printed on the paper of this magazine. And as a result of such demand for wood products, deforestation is one of the main contributors to greenhouse gases. My question is, how do we balance the vital and opposing roles trees play in our lives, one of which requires them to remain standing and the other that requires cutting them down?

According to Bill Patterson at the Nature Conservancy, an initiative called Keeping Maine’s Forests could hold the answer. “Maintaining forests by sustainable forestry management and revenue generation is one of the most important ways to save forests,” he explains. “Through selective harvesting of trees, coupled with unique forest reserve areas, there is an economic basis to conserve the larger forest ecosystem for the long term.”

We the consumers, builders, and home-owners can also do our part for the trees:
1. Get to know your wood. Look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certifications that indicate when wood is from renewable sources, or ask for wood that was harvested locally in Maine. A good bet is Hancock Lumber’s SFI-certified Maine eastern white pine.
2. Use reclaimed wood. In this issue of Maine Home+Design, for example, we see a home made with wood from dismantled barns (page 68).
3. Plant a tree. Heed the Chinese proverb: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is now.”

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