The most sustainable, “wood” is bamboo. Bamboo is actually a fast growing grass species. Cane is also a sustainable plant that can be harvested repeatedly, just like bamboo. Maple trees also grow very fast (approx. 18″ per year). This makes maple a true wood that is sustainable and grows in nearly all temperate areas of the world.
As bialowieza mentioned, bamboo grows very fast, so it will certainly be the least expensive type of “wood” that you can find on the market. However, if you have your heart set on a certain type of wood with a different texture than bamboo, you can get something that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). My parents got FSC certified pine wood for their cabinets when they remodeled their kitchen and cork for their floors. Cork is a great flooring material because it adds insulation to the house and when it is harvested, it does not kill the tree. It is also easier on the knees for walking on than hardwood floors.
The most sustainable wood for you to use may depend on where you live. You can get wood from sustainable forests where companies replace all the trees that are cut down. In addition, it is more sustainable to get wood from local species verses exotic species. Bamboo is an economic solution and grows quickly, but some areas have had problems with bamboo becoming invasive. This means that the bamboo grows and spreads so quickly that it displaces species that naturally belong in an area. You can get bamboo that is harvested sustainably in contained areas as well.
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