Siberian Larch wood is starting to make its way into the commercial market of the United States. Prior to the dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1992 this wood was not readily available on the world market. Even in the decade after Russia’s declaration of statehood this wood was only practically available in the European countries with a close proximity to Russia. In those areas where the lumber was readily available it was quickly embraced by architects and designers. Today, top designers and architects in Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden prize this wood for use in the construction of schools, commercial developments and residential homes.
With companies like Austria’s Leitinger developing the supply line, Siberian Larch is now readily available worldwide. The origin of this wood also lends to it’s acceptance among builders and architects. Siberian Larch accounts for nearly 40% of Russia’s 2.7 billion acres of forest! By comparison the Amazon forest covers only 800 million acres of land.
This wood is coming from a highly sustainable source. The natural growth rate of the forest is five (5) times higher than the rate at which it is being harvested. That gets to the very heart of wood preservation.
Siberian Larch is a coniferous tree with some rather unique characteristics. One of these unique features is the fact that it sheds its needles in the winter. From a technical standpoint, only hardwoods are supposed to loose their foliage in the winter months. For this reason, natives call Larch the “conifer that thinks it’s a hardwood”.
Hardly new to it’s native regions, Larch was originally use in the building of ships and mine supports. This wood has a strong track record of being extremely resistant to decay and rot. Ancient Europeans referred to Larch as “the tree of eternity”. As an example of the durability of this wood one can look to the ancient city of Venice. Larch was used to build the piers columns and posts that suspend this city. In the early 1800s, after several centuries of exposure to the salt water many of these supports were examined for structural integrity. It was found that the wood had become almost petrified and were too hard to chop with an ax and nearly impossible to saw.
PHOTO CREDIT WIKIPEDIA COMMONS
The impressive natural durability of Siberian Larch can be attributed to several of its natural properties. The following factors each contribute to the resistance of decay, rot and insect infestation:
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