Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants.
It is an organic material, a natural composite of cellulose fibers that are strong in tension and embedded in a matrix of lignin that resists compression. Wood is sometimes defined as only the secondary xylem in the stems of trees, or it is defined more broadly to include the same type of tissue elsewhere such as in the roots of trees or shrubs. In a living tree it performs a support function, enabling woody plants to grow large or to stand up by themselves. It also conveys water and nutrients between the leaves, other growing tissues, and the roots. Wood may also refer to other plant materials with comparable properties, and to material engineered from wood, or wood chips or fiber.
Wood has been used for thousands of years for fuel, as a construction material, for making tools and weapons, furniture and paper, and as a feedstock for the production of purified cellulose and its derivatives, such as cellophane and cellulose acetate.
In 2005, the growing stock of forests worldwide was about 434 billion cubic meters, 47% of which was commercial.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.
A 2011 discovery in the Canadian province of New Brunswick discovered the earliest known plants to have grown wood, approximately 395 to 400 million years ago. Wood can be dated by carbon dating and in some species by dendrochronology to make inferences about when a wooden object was created.
People have used wood for millennia for many purposes, primarily as a fuel or as a construction material for making houses, tools, weapons, furniture, packaging, artworks, and paper. Constructions using wood date back ten thousand years. Buildings like the European Neolithic long house were made primarily of wood.
Recent use of wood has been changed by the addition of steel and bronze into construction.
The year-to-year variation in tree-ring widths and isotopic abundances gives clues to the prevailing climate at that time.