Is Acacia Wood Sustainable?
Acacia, commonly known as wattles in Australia, is one kind of big structured tree family usually habituated in Africa and Australasia. If you are watching a documentary on African animals or enjoying a movie where the African savannah is screened, then the majority of the big trees you are seeing are most likely Acacia trees and their subspecies. They are widely noticeable for their enormous branch stems.
There are over 1,300 types of Acacia species and they are well popular for their survivability in harsh landscapes. The wood of the Acacia tree is widely popular among its users due to its durability and distinctive grain texture. They are cut and processed for making many different things like furniture, but is acacia wood sustainable? Let’s explore the sustainable life of an acacia tree throughout its life span: as a tree and as a piece of wood. In this article, we will try to illustrate the sustainable impact they leave and beyond.
- Acacia wood is one type of heavy-duty sustainable wood commonly found in Australasia and African regions.
- Acacia wood works as a natural ‘Carbon Capture and Storage’ platform. It is one the most carbon-sequestrating plant that helps to reduce carbon footprint.
- Acacia wood can be a great option for decorating your house. Extreme durability, eye-catchy grain texture, and waterproof benefit can create any sustaining and attractive wooden home decor.
Acacia Wood and Its Specialty
Though Acacia trees are widely seen in Australasia, Africa, and America a recent study has concluded that the first sighting and identification of Acacia tree was in Africa in the 1700s. The common specialty of almost Acacia wood species is their longevity in the dry environmental landscape. They are one of the few big trees that can survive the harsh weather of Central Africa and Australian Tasmania. Acacia has a moderate lifespan of around 30-40 years.
Another visible specialty that Acacia wood possess is that timber is the most durable in its class. Thus they are expensive to acquire and widely used in the furniture business and structure buildup. They are also famous for their special grain texture, mostly medium to coarse.
Acacia Woods: Sustainable Growth as A Tree
Before jumping into the sustainability of Acacia woods let’s first understand the sustainable life of an Acacia tree. Sustainable woods are byproducts of a sustainably lived tree.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)
Apart from the visible sustainability they provide, one important role they lead as a tree is their ccarbo-catchingcapacity. Just like other plants, the Acacia plant also takes Carbon(Co2) from the air through photosynthesis. Acacia trees absorb an enormous amount of carbon in their lifespan. They have a quick growth rate, thus carbon sequestration begins very quickly and as they grow older and bigger, their carbon capture and storing capacity also rises exceptionally.
Growth and Accessibility
Acacia trees are quick growers. Depending on the species, they can reach an average height of 8-20 meters and on favorable conditions they can reach even 30-40 meters tall, stretching their stem over 1 meter wide.
Acacia trees can grow almost in every type of soil and environment ranging from coastal to sub-alpine regions and from high rainfall to arid inland areas. Thus making the acacia tree widely accessible from anywhere in the world. Acacia species are found all over the world. They also don’t need any pesticides and fertilizer to grow.
Products They Offer
Acacia utilizes every inch of land as their habitat. They not only yield timber but also their bark, flowers, and gum are beneficial for making various essential and lifesaving products. Some African species provide hardened sap that can be converted to make Gum Arabic, used in the food industry. The bark of many Acacia species is used as an ingredient in tanning, dyes, inks, and pharmaceuticals. The wide range of benefits of Acacia trees proves that they are more sustainable to harvest apart from sources of timber.
Sustainable Meanings for Acacia Wood
Apart from creating jungle in the wilderness Acacia tree has a sustainable impact throughout its lifespan. We can divide them into two categories:
- Environmental Sustainability
- Economical Sustainability
- Carbon Balancing: The first and foremost important sustained contribution of Acacia trees is their role in carbon balancing. As described earlier, they take minimal resources from nature but return in a larger aspect by reducing greenhouse gases.
- Harder to Crack: Acacia wood is widely famous for its durability and hardness. Due to Acacia wood’s density, it is very demanding for making heavy-use wooden materials. They have a natural durability in the form of wood.
- Less Tree Cutting: As mentioned above, Acacia Woods have well established itself as a sustained timber in terms of durability. Establishments made with Acacia wood hold longer durability. Meaning less amount of deforestation for other trees.
- Used as Bio Energy: Once the structure and materials made with Acacia wood have fulfilled their intent, the timbers are eligible for use as bioenergy. People from remote places in Africa use expired timber as biomass energy.
- Saves Lives: The natural byproducts of the Acacia wood tree like its bark are widely used for making pharmaceutical drugs. Reducing the use of artificial chemicals increases the chance of human health longevity.
- Grows In The Toughness: Now it is well known that Acacia trees grow in more desert-like areas. In enough numbers, they are very helpful in fighting desertification.
- Makes Eco System: If you think in a wider aspect, Acacia wood trees are contributing to making newer ecosystems and maintaining them at the same time. Sometimes they are a prime source of habituation for both humans and other animals.
- Very Popular Wood: Acacia woods are widely considered one of the best timber available in the market due to their durability, hardened structure, unique grain texture, and natural bacterial, fungus, and insect protection. That created a sky-soaring demand and supply chain.
- Processing & Transportation: Acacia wood has created a range of medium to heavy industrial setups where farmers are harvesting Acacia trees, mills are sawing for processing, and logistic teams are for delivering them to every corner of the world. More action means more economic engagement.
- Furniture Market: The primary and most popular use of Acacia woods are for making furniture. Various big brands have separate design and product segments exclusively based on Acacia Woods. Their formidability has created a high demand for furniture made from Acacia wood.
- Nourishes The Soil: Acacia wood tree in the process of growing helps to nourish the very soil it is standing on. It fixes the Nitrogen(N) in the soil and makes the soil more fertile.
- Alternatives for Fossil fuel: This wood is flammable and once done using it, can be used as an alternative for fossil fuels. Underground energy resources are perishable. Acacia woods can be used for power making instead of mineral coal and other fuels.
Use of Acacia Wood
The use of Acacia woods is pretty much diversified. That’s why there is a decent demand for these timbers. Luckily, sourcing Acacia woods isn’t limited to natural trees only. A lot of Acacia garden initiatives are running to fulfill the growing demand and keep the price low.
Depending on the species, the use of Acacia wood varies. But the most common application of this timber is for building furniture. Because the strength and durability of the wood are very high, furniture made out of them tends to have a longer lifespan. As a hardwood, it can also take a high amount of weight on it. Thus making them suitable for making furniture like Tables, Benches, etc.
One interesting fact about Acacia wood remains flexible after being cut. This makes it very convenient for the manufacturers to bend them as they need. Once they dry out they retain the hardened character. Furniture made out of Acacia wood is damaged, scratch resisting.
Due to Acacia woods are hardwood and can take a lot of weight, they are very demanding for flooring. Apart from this reason, the natural distinctive grain patterns are also striking for the eyes to watch. So using them also decorates your house a little bit. Another reason for using Acacia wood for flooring is the ‘waterproof’ feature. This is perfect for flooring the kitchen, as it makes the cleaning process easier. Also ketchup, an oil-like substance can be removed easily from the floor without leaving any stains.
Acacia woods comes with built-in bacteria-resisting ingredients thus making them suitable for your health even after use for a prolonged time. So it is like an in-one-featured flooring option.
Acacia woods are ideal for decorating any house. As you know these timbers come with distinctive grain patterns. One pattern will rarely match with other sections of the stem. So you have plenty of options to choose from. You can use thinly sawed timbers to create the wall or its upper layer for a natural design. That’s why these woods are becoming very popular among designers.
Also, Acacia wood can be used to make multiple uses of home décor and other wooden utensils such as kitchen tabletops, chopping boards, coffee tables, bookshelf, and even custom-made wooden flower vases. You just have to be creative enough to bring out the perfect design.
Acacia wood has some orthodox methods of use. Non-dried Acacia board releases an oil-like substance if pressed hard enough. These oils are useful for making medicine, perfume, and skincare product as they have a smell similar to honey. In many countries, Acacia woods are being used for making sculptures.
Cons of Acacia Wood as A Tree
Until now we have only talked about the pros and sustainable sides of Acacia woods. Though almost nothing comes without paying the price of facing its disadvantages sides. Acacia Wood has its own too.
Crack-prone in High Temperature
The reason for Acacia wood being very hardened is its density they contain. Though this feature makes them formidable for heavy lifting and longevity. But this wood can’t take too much constant temperature at once. As they dry due to temperature rise, their inner particles tend to shrink even closer making them vulnerable to cracking here and there. And once cracked, they lose their strengths along with their beauty.
Acacia Wood Is Expensive
Due to its constant rise in demand and decreasing sources, the price of Acacia wood is soaring high. Depending on the place of purchase and wood quality one square foot of Australian Blackwood is priced between $7 to $11. Whereas similar endured wood such as Oak wood is priced only at $3-4.
In parallel with the wood, furniture made with Acacia timber is also expensive. Therefore it is not accessible for everyone to purchase.
Needs Constance Maintenance
May Acacia wood is a tough, hardwood and popular globally but astonishingly, they need maintenance to be looked premium. As mentioned earlier, they are prone to crack if become too dry. You need to apply a moistening oil substance to prevent the wood from drying. Also, you can’t just put any cleaning substance as they may contain silicon and ammonia which will make the dried wood even more dry.
First, it needs special preservative oil to prevent the wood from warping and then finishing oil to protect the wood from UV damage.
There are some other issues with uneven texture with knot-like patches. Also, the wood is too heavy to work on and needs special machinery and expert hands to work efficiently.
Both Bamboo and Acacia are eco-friendly and sustainable. But if you monitor closely how much impact they made for sustainable solutions, I would say ‘Bamboo’ is the winner.
Depending on the species and wood quality the use of acacia wood varies. But as they are water resistant and strong, using them for making indoor, outdoor furniture will be the best use.
Though Acacia woods are waterproof still it is not recommended to wash them thoroughly. Instead, use cleaning oil to remove the dust and prevent dryness at the same time.
Indeed, if you are looking for sustainable furniture that is made of heavy-duty wood, naturally occurring exceptionally beautiful textured flooring and wall decorating wooden solution, or any other utensil which you want for prolonged use then Acacia Woods can be your primary choice. These woods are well compatible with the word ‘sustainable’ as they indeed sustain a tough yet very useful life devoted to mother nature and the benefit of mankind. They not only provide us with timber but also help immensely in collecting greenhouse gases and taking a part in restoring the carbon balance.
So as it helps humans and planet Earth in a broader aspect to sustain life in it, we should be more careful about the gap between the number they are generating and the number they are being cut. Let’s not waste such a life-sustaining piece of gift fade away for some wood.