Uses of conifers
Economically, conifers are very important as they are a major source of timber. The majority of the world’s sawn timbers come from conifers. Exploitation of this resource from wild growing forests is still going on in many parts of the world, but there is an obvious trend especially in the developed world to phase this out and use more sustainable planted or seeded resources. There are many species with highly different wood properties, some of these are extremely valuable and used for fine cabinet making or expensive applications in construction. Wood from conifers is also an important source of pulp for paper and cellulose fibres such as rayon.
Conifers are also very important in horticulture, especially in regions with a temperate climate. Several species have yielded hundreds of different cultivars and new ones are constantly appearing on the market.
In some countries conifers have a role to play in traditional medicine and in religious ceremonies and, of course, our Christmas trees can be seen as a form of this kind of use. A few conifers even have edible seeds; well known are those of certain pines.