Hardwood v Softwood
Despite what many people think, Hardwood is not necessarily a harder material and Softwood is not necessarily a softer material. The distinction between hardwood and softwood actually has to do with plant reproduction. All trees reproduce by producing seeds, but the seed structure varies.
Hardwood trees are angiosperms, plants that produce seeds with some sort of covering. This might be a fruit, such as an apple, or a hard shell, such as an acorn.
Burning at a much slower, steadier rate giving off hotter and longer lasting heat makes this type of wood more popular than others.
Softwoods, on the other hand, are gymnosperms. These plants let seeds fall to the ground as is, with no covering. Pine trees, which grow seeds in hard cones, fall into this category. In conifers like pines, these seeds are released into the wind once they mature. This spreads the plant’s seed over a wider area.
The North East has mostly softwood woodland and produces over 90% softwood timber.