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Rotation Length Hardwood Softwood Forest Maps Kara Lanahan Kelly ReedMaps Illustrating the hardwood and softwood forests of Virginia | Lasercut by Kelly Reed and Kara Lanahan

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ROTATION LENGTH /roʊˈteɪʃən lɛŋθ/


Rotation length refers to the amount of time it takes for a planted tree to reach a size at which it can become industrial wood.  Generally, softwoods have a shorter rotation length (20-30 years) than hardwoods (60-80 years), and thus are the preferred wood-type for tree plantations.

The consequences of this include the diminishing supply of hardwoods for all industrial applications as when hardwoods are harvested, they are replaced by softwoods.  Thus, certain types of hardwoods, such as oak and walnut, are becoming increasingly rare and expensive.

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