“Red oak not only has a minimal carbon footprint but is also truly sustainable”, explained AHEC’s European Director, David Venables. "The American hardwood forest, which occupies about 120 million hectares of the United States, has been well managed by successive generations of small landowners. Trees are selectively harvested and replaced through natural regeneration. The timber grows at a much higher pace than it is extracted and the forest increases by 401 hectares each year – the equivalent of a football pitch every minute.”
Despite being a favourite in other parts of the world like the U.S. and Asia, red oak is not being used in Europe. As AHEC’s European Director, David Venables puts it “Nearly one out of every five hardwood trees standing in the U.S. forests is a red oak, yet industries in Europe are reluctant to use it. We hope this project will inspire a more imaginative use of this beautiful and sustainable species”.
Red oak is the dominant species in the U.S. hardwood forests with a distinctive grain and wood that is not always red in colour. The name is supposedly due to the Autumn leaf colour. Red oak trees grow only naturally and almost exclusively in North America, although planted elsewhere. In general, the sapwood of red oaks is light brown and the heartwood is often pinkish to reddish brown. American red oaks have very good overall strength properties relative to weight. Its main uses are furniture, flooring, doors and certain construction applications.
Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) data shows that net annual growth of red oak in the U.S. after harvest is over 21 million m3, which means it only takes 0.57 seconds for the red oak used in Weaving architecture to be replaced in the forest by new growing stock.