Larch is one of the few old growth species in the world being harvested from a sustainable forest. Larch species account for approximately 38% of the timber in Russia’s 2.7 billion acre Boreal Forest. That alone is substantially larger than the entire Amazon Rain Forest which is about 800 million acres.
Importantly, the timber being cut in Russia today accounts for only about 20% of the forest’s growth. That means that for every tree logged, the equivalent of 5 others have already grown to replace it. Since larch is a natural material, its effects on energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and pollution are far less than that of other currently popular composite materials.
One of the most beneficial characteristics of Larch is its natural durability and decay resistance. This unique quality is due to its extremely high resin content. Also, Larch grows very slowly and thus has very tight growth rings which give it superior stability. Indeed, Larch is nothing like the plantation species being grown today that are timbered after only 15 or 20 years of growth. The structural integrity of Larch sets it apart from almost all other species. However, the one specie that is most similar to Larch is Heart Pine. The heartwood of these two woods is so similar that only experts can tell them apart. The only immediate visible difference in the two is their knots.
For many centuries, the world has witnessed the unique performance of Larch in a variety of applications. It has tremendous decay resistence as well as unique resins that make it virtually impossible for termites and other insects to damage. These experiences have earned Larch the name, “The Tree of Eternity”. In fact, there are numerous homes and churches in Russia that have been estimated to be more than 800 years old. Another famous example of the longevity of Larch is its use as pilings and other woodwork in the construction of the ancient city of Venice which is believed to be over 1,000 years old.
Indeed, Larch is one of the last sustainable, old growth species in the world that is capable of providing the building industry premium, high quality products at reasonable costs. Both Americans and Europeans have been able to take advantage of this special material since the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Today, architects in America, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria, and Japan are specifying the use of Larch in the construction of residential homes and commercial spaces on a regular basis.
Larch is now being used in homes all over the world for virtually every area of new homes. It is seeing especially high use for both solid and engineered wide plank floors as well as for parquet, high quality veneers, and even plywood. Larch has many impressive characteristics and appears to have a bright future in the worlds emerging developments.