The rustling of leaves, birdsong, the scent of resin, mushrooms, earth, the coarse bark of a spruce, the smooth of a beech - the forest appeals to all human senses. Many studies have proven: Spending time in the forest has a positive effect on well-being and health. People who spend a lot of time in the forest are healthier, fall ill less often and live longer. Even a short walk in the forest reduces stress, lowers the pulse rate and relaxes the mind.
In ancient times and the Middle Ages, forests were considered dark and mysterious. Fabulous creatures, wild animals, but also friendly, helpful forest spirits lived here. Later, in the 18th and 19th centuries, the forest was exalted and idealized by the philosophers, poets and painters of the Romantic period: The "holde Tann" became a place of longing for city dwellers, a symbol of the primal and untamed nature.
And today? The forest still provides a habitat for a diverse flora and fauna, and protects against mudslides and avalanches in the mountains. But it has also become an important recreational area for people and represents a significant economic factor. Around 300,000 people in Austria live from the forest and wood processing. They generate about 12 billion euros annually, which corresponds to 4 % of the gross domestic product (GDP). 70 % of production is exported. Austria's forests are firmly in private hands: 82 % of the forest area is distributed among about 145,000 private owners. The remaining 18 %, the so-called "public forest", belongs to the Austrian Federal Forests, provinces and municipalities.
Austria's forest area increases
Almost half of Austria's federal territory - around four million hectares - is covered with forest. There are about 3.4 billion trees in Austria's forests: 400 for every inhabitant. According to the Austrian Forest Inventory ÖWI of the Federal Forest Research Center, the forest area is increasing by 4,300 hectares annually: more wood is growing back than is being used. In recent years, there has been a clear trend toward mixed stands that are richer in hardwoods. Pure spruce stands decreased by 126,000 ha between 2000 and 2008. At the same time, hardwood and mixed stands increased by 38,000 ha.
The forest contributes to climate protection
Forests are valuable carbon reservoirs that contribute significantly to reducing the CO2 content of the atmosphere: Approximately 890 million tons of carbon are sequestered in Austrian forests alone. This corresponds to around 3.3 billion tons of CO2 and thus about 35 times the amount of greenhouse gases emitted annually in Austria. And with the growth of wood, this carbon store is also growing.
Wood products are CO2 reservoirs
If a tree is used for wood production, the carbon remains bound in it for the entire life of the product: The wood product becomes a permanent carbon store. It is only released when the wood is burned or decays, for example. Thus, not only forests but also all products made of wood (houses, furniture, flooring, etc.) are important carbon stores. In addition, the use of wood prevents those CO2 emissions that would have resulted from carbon dioxide-intensive, climate-damaging fossil fuels or energy-intensively produced materials such as plastics.
The magic of trees
Despite all rational consideration of the practical benefits of forestry and wood, the forest and trees have not lost their ancient magic to this day. According to the Celtic tree circle, for example, each person is assigned a personal tree of life with typical character traits depending on his or her date of birth. 21 tree species - from maple, the tree of freedom, to cypress, the tree of eternity - are intended to give people support and orientation throughout their lives through the symbolic power and imperishability of nature.
PEFC: Wood from sustainable forestry
At TRAPA Floors, we attach great importance to the careful and responsible treatment of people and the environment. That is why the wood for our natural wood floors comes from PEFC-certified, European forestry. We as a company TRAPA are also certified. PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) is a globally active institution for ensuring sustainable forest management. The PEFC certificate is based on the strict criteria of the European forest ministers for the protection of forests. Wood and wood products with the PEFC seal, such as our TRAPA parquet, demonstrably come from ecologically, economically and socially sustainable forestry - guaranteed not from questionable origins.