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Timber obtained from coniferous trees (mainly of the pine and fir families). With the exception of bald cypress, tamarack, and larch, softwood trees are evergreens. Softwood is mostly obtained from the Baltic, Scandinavia, and North America and is the source of about 80% of the world's production of timber. The term sometimes imprecisely means all soft and hard woods used as construction wood in temperate regions. Softwoods of longleaf pine, Douglas fir, and yew are much harder in the mechanical sense than several hardwoods.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on softwood, visit Britannica.com.