Where to Find Ecofriendly Wood

October 7, 2005

WOOD, one of the most fundamental elements of home building and decoration, can have a profound effect on the style and environmental impact of every home.While traditionally hard and semi-hard woods from natural forests have been used in home building around the world, they have grown scarce because of overexploitation, according to engineer Mariela Herrera of Amatek, the forestry products division of pipe and construction company Amanco Costa Rica.For this reason, over the past decade in Costa Rica, pine, one of the world’s most versatile woods, has become increasingly popular, Herrera said.In Costa Rica, Caribbean and radiata pines are imported from Chile and Venezuela, where they are produced in renewable forest plantations, making them environmentally friendly choices, she explained.Pine can be used for doors, moldings, furniture and posts, and to build homes and cabins, Herrera said.Grupo Amanco, based in San Antonio de Belén, northwest of San José, has 23 production plants in 13 Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador and Venezuela. Its Costa Rican Amatek wood line is the only arsenic-free treated wood in the country, according to Herrera.AMATEK offers oven-dried wood from forest plantations, preserved with Wolmanit CX-10, an efficient wood preservative that protects wood from insect and mold damage.The wood is sold per meter and is also available in specific measurements – specially cut for floors, roofs and posts for fences or streetlamps, among others. Prices vary according to measurements and finish whether the wood is brushed or treated.Amanco seeks wood suppliers certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization dedicated to responsible forest management. If wood meets FSC standards, it carries the FSC logo, according to Herrera.The company also makes an effort to carry wood that is SmartWood-certified by the FSC-accredited Rainforest Alliance.For more information on Amatek wood products, call 209-3400 or 551-0866. EL Buen Precio hardware and construction store, located in Curridabat, east of San José, also carries SmartWood-certified woods.The store offers a large selection of woods, including Caribbean pine, teak, brushed and rustic wood, and oven-dried wood, with home delivery service available. It also prepares custom beams and varnished wood products.The family-run business, which will celebrate its 38th anniversary this month with a fair Oct. 17-22, offers wood for a variety of uses, including columns and posts, ornamental wood and wood for doors, ceilings, moldings, floors and furniture, according to assistant manager Cecilia Jiménez.El Buen Precio has reforested 30 million square meters of land through 44 forestry projects in the Caribbean-slope town of Guápiles. The company has planted more than 5 million trees as part of its renewable forest initiative, according to Jiménez.The store offers an “expert, dynamic, assessment service” and “competitive prices,” she added.In addition to wood products, El Buen Precio sells tiles, faucets and other hardware items.For more information or to place an order, call 271-3636 or 272-1111.Ecofriendly Wood – Related LinksForest Stewardship Council: www.fsc.orgRainforest Alliance: www.rainforest-alliance.orgSmartWood: www.smartwood.org

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