Get the Inside Scoop on Certified Wood from Pennsylvania’s 1st FSC-Certified Company


Credit: Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring

Did you know that deforestation is a leading cause of carbon emissions? We all know that trees are important for this planet; they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. When a tree is cut and harvested, that carbon is stored in the wood, acting as a carbon sink. If the tree burns or naturally dies and rots, the carbon is released back into the atmosphere. The ability of wood products to sequester carbon can be an incentive to use them for building materials.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial, and economically prosperous management of the world’s forests, in an effort to meet the need to produce forest products without compromising the forests’ health.

The Council certifies forests that meet its 10 principles and 57 criteria and helps buyers recognize that the wood product they buy is coming from a sustainably managed forest. It enables consumers to increase the demand for landowners to keep their land certified or become FSC certified, promising forests for future generations.

Here in Pittsburgh, FSC flooring from Hickman Lumber can be found in the Fairmont Hotel in Downtown,  Franktuary in Market Square, The Vandal & Row House Cinemas in Lawrenceville, Blush Night Club in Downtown, Monterey Bay in Mount Washington, and Commonplace Coffee in the Northside. Beyond Pittsburgh, HIckman Lumber has in incorporated at various places in New York City, including the Carnegie Mansion and 9/11 Museum,  at the Vice President’s Home in Washington, D.C.,  and at many universities and colleges across the country.

Hardwood floor

Credit: Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring

Hickman Lumber was the first Pennsylvania Company to become FSC Certified, as told by Jessica Hickman

In 1993, the first Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) General Assembly gathered in Toronto, Canada, and the group set out to create a voluntary, market-based approach that would improve forest practices worldwide.  The various forest groups, including environmental and industry groups, worked together to help protect our forests.

In 1999, a forester working for Hickman Lumber approached my dad, Dennis Hickman, with information on the FSC. My dad was skeptical, but took some time to look over the program. He realized that the management requirements aligned with timber management plans that we were already implementing, and had been for generations; we were just lacking the paper work to become certified. Soon after, Hickman Lumber became the first company in Pennsylvania and the 64th company in the world to become FSC certified.

From Left: Larry, Jake, Dennis, Jessica Hickman

From Left: Larry, Jake, Dennis, Jessica Hickman

The Hickman family has a long history in the hardwood forest products and service industries. Today, the fourth-generation, family-owned business has grown to include Hickman Timber Management, Inc. and Allegheny Mountain Hardwood Flooring. What started out with founder Harry Hickman logging with a crosscut saw and a team of horses in 1938 has become a leader in Appalachian hardwood timber management, products, and services.

Join GBA Tomorrow Morning, August 17, for FSC Wood: Beyond the Certification

Join GBA and Jessica Hickman to learn about FSC certification from a manufacturing standpoint, including how logs are cut and what they yield.  Trees are natural products that don’t always grow straight, so there are knots, worm holes, mineral streaks, and variations that show the beauty and tell the life story of a tree. When logs are cut into lumber, there are variations in widths and grades. Jessica will help you understand what flooring you can have that creates the minimum amount of waste and goes green beyond the FSC certification. Learn more and register.

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