I generally discourage people from building with wood because our forests world-wide have been so badly decimated by over-harvesting trees and it is becoming more critical to maintain our forests, not only to preserve their ecosystems but to help sequester all of the CO2 that is floating in our air. However, building with wood (at least partially) can still be a sound ecological choice, which is particularly true in regions where forests have regenerated to the point that they can be harvested sustainably. This means that the trees are carefully monitored to make sure that the health and character of the forest is maintained; only certain trees are culled periodically, leaving the remaining trees to grow and contribute to a healthy ecosystem. It is possible to buy wood that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), but if this means that you are buying wood shipped great distances, then this becomes a less ecological choice; use local materials!
With a minimum of heavy-duty timbers, beams, posts, this technique can create strong and versatile load-bearing structures, which can then be completed by either in-filling between the wooden structural members, or completely wrapping them with a variety of other materials. Since this method of building has been recognized and approved by most code authorities, it is a way of approaching a natural building project that would otherwise be difficult for the authorities to sanction.
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