| Why is wood not considered to be alive?|
|Question Date: 2016-01-14|
Wood that has been separated from a tree is
considered dead because it is removed from the
source of nutrients, much in the same way as meat
from a butcher's shop is considered dead because
the meat is not receiving nutrients from the
animal because it is dead. However, the difference
is that the tree is still alive and can regenerate
the branches. To recap, wood that is attached
to a tree is alive. However, wood that is
separated from the tree is dead. I hope this
Wood is not alive in the same way that a
chicken bone is not alive after the chicken is
dead. Plant cells have tough cell walls that
allow them to stand up. Certain plants, like
bushes and trees, also make wood so they are even
stronger. When someone cuts the tree down, the
cells don't have a way to deliver sugar and oxygen
to the cells anymore. The cells die, but the wood
they made doesn't disappear. Bones also have cells
in them, but when the cells die, the bone is still
Bamboo is actually a type of grass, but it
makes a type of wood that is very strong and
light. I recently saw a video about a company in
Ghana that makes bike frames from bamboo
bamboo bikes .
The founder wanted to help her
community by providing transportation, jobs, and a
How would you tell whether something was
If you are interested in questions like this,
you may want to study biology.
Thanks for asking,
The biggest part of the bark of a tree or the wood
that makes your kitchen table is not alive, but
once it used to be.
For something to be alive, we usually mean that
it has mechanisms to reproduce. The young wood
(sapwood) is a collection of plant cells, just
like our cells which are alive and make us alive.
The cells have protoplasm inside them and also
make a form of structural box around them, made
out of proteins. When the die, the protoplasm
dries out, but the protein box stays and makes the
wood as we know it. It is dead in all senses. All
that remains is the skeleton of it, just like in
Good question! What defines life? How do we
distinguishing living things from non-living
things? A living thing can transform
materials from the environment into energy to grow
and reproduce. A piece of wood is not alive
because, once it is not part of a tree, it cannot
use the energy from sunlight to grow, produce
seeds, and make more pieces of wood. Using this
definition, see if you can decide: is a bone
Living organisms like plants and animals generally
need all of their parts to survive. Wood is part
of the tree and before the tree is cut down, it is
very much alive. But wood can’t get water and
energy on its own. It requires the roots of the
tree to get water and nutrients form the soil and
it often requires leaves to conduct photosynthesis
to make sugars from sunlight and CO2.
What makes an organism an organism is that it
requires all of its different parts to survive
because every part has an important different job.
When wood is cut from a tree, it will be alive for
a short time afterwards, but will quickly die
because it won’t get any nutrients, energy, or
water. Also, a lot of wood is treated with
chemicals to preserve the wood which will
instantly kill the wood. A side note is that bark
on a tree is already dead, just like our skin is
to protect the tree from the excessive weather,
ultraviolet rays, and diseases. If you took
wood and planted it into dirt it would not
grow. However, there are ways to take a cell
from a leaf and regrow the plant into an entirely
new tree. When wood is cut from a tree, however,
it is not treated with this kind of care and the
cells in the wood all die.
I disagree--I think wood can be alive. It's not a
living organism, though: think of wood similarly
to skin. Living skin still receives nutrients and
grows. On the other hand, the outer layer of skin
is dead: it can no longer grow. Similarly, some
types of wood are dead, and some are living.
Dead wood and dead skin are still important.
They provide structure to support the shape of the
organism, and protection from the environment
(like hot, cold, wind or water).
The cells in wood have lost their cytoplasm,
DNA, organelles, etc. and have no living tissue
inside of them. They do conduct water though
for living tissues above them, so saying that
wood isn't alive is like saying that bone or
shells aren't alive in animals: they were made
from living matter and perform a function for the
Wood is alive when it's still attached to a
tree, so it's only not alive once it's been cut
down.Scientists often use the characteristics
of life (
life ) to classify what is and isn't alive.
Cut wood can't meet some of those requirements,
and therefore it isn't classified as alive. Most
notably for wood, it's no longer performing the
chemical reactions involved in "homeostasis"
(actively keeping its internal environment at
a constant state) and metabolism, it's no
responding to stimuli, it's unable to reproduce.
You might find interesting, though, that the
characteristics of life are still debated. For
example, these characteristics say that viruses
are not alive. Yet, some scientists still classify
them as living. Life is not perfectly clearly
defined, and there's always debate.
Click Here to return to the search form.
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.