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Softwood is wood that comes from gymnosperm trees. These are conifers which includes most Evergreen trees. Softwood makes up about 80% of the world's production of lumber. The main centers where softwood is produced include North America, Scandinavia, Baltic countries and China. The opposite of softwood is hardwood, which is wood that comes from angiosperm trees. Softwoods are not always softer than hardwoods. Both groups include a variety of wood types that vary in actual hardness. For example balsa is a hardwood but is softer than most softwoods. Douglas fir, a softwood, is much harder than many hardwoods.
- Brian Bond; University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Service, Wood identification for hardwood and softwood species native to Tennessee (Knoxville: Agricultural Extension Service, University of Tennessee, n.d.), p. 4
- James L. Howard, U.S. timber production, trade, consumption, and price statistics 1965-2002, Research Paper FPL-RP-615 (U.S. Department of Agriculture; Forest Service), p. 5