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In a 1934 book called "Trees You Want to Know," American botanist Donald Culross Peattie wrote that Atlantic White Cedar would "endure moisture indefinitely," and wood that weathered well was in demand; lots of folks began using it for fencing and roof shingles.
As it became popular, we started overlogging it, and soon it became both expensive and scarce.
Ipe ain't cheap—also called Brazilian Walnut, the stuff has to be shipped in from Central or South America—while chemically-treated Southern Yellow Pine was easily available and relatively affordable. Because boards made from Southern Yellow Pine needed to be replaced every ten years, bringing with it high maintenance costs.
Pricey but hard-wearing Ipe was reckoned to last for 25 years.
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Amidst stiff opposition, the NYC Parks Department has announced that the Boardwalk will now be topped with concrete and recycled plastic formed to look like wood.
The Parks Department cites the environmental concerns of continuing to harvest tropical rainforest wood and the maintenance costs; preservationists argue that natural wood is an essential ingredient of the Boardwalk's very identity.
In the late 1800s Atlantic City put up the first large-scale public boardwalk in the United States.
For material they used Atlantic White Cedar, conveniently harvested from New Jersey's nearby forests.
Choosing the material to build a boardwalk out of can be tricky.