Wood is a hard, fibrous tissue found in many plants. It has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for both fuel and as a construction material. It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers (which are strong in tension) embedded in a matrix of lignin which resists compression. Wood is produced as secondary xylem in the stems of trees (and other woody plants). In a living tree it performs a support function, enabling woody plants to grow large or to stand up for themselves. It also mediates the transfer of water and nutrients to the leaves and other growing tissues. Wood may also refer to other plant materials with comparable properties, and to material engineered from wood, or wood chips or fiber.
The earth contains about one trillion tons of wood, which grows at a rate of 10 billion tons per year. As an abundant, carbon-neutral renewable resource, woody materials have been of intense interest as a source of renewable energy. In 1991, approximately 3.5 billion cubic meters of wood were harvested. Dominant uses were for furniture and building construction.
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