The pine is a remarkable tree in that it makes the most out of a difficult situation. It thrives in soils other plants balk at and its fire cone system is a built-in contingency plan when fire burns down a forest as these cones only drop when they are heated. Additionally, pine trees are the gift that keeps on giving. Not only do they provide a stately presence in yards, forests and mountainsides, their timber, tar, resin and seeds are used in commercial ventures as well.
Timber and Wood Pulp
Pine is a valuable lumber source and is used as flooring, in furniture, wood framing and paneling. Sources include the Eastern white pine, which was once logged to build ship masts; Scots pine, which is used for telephone poles, veneers and saw logs; Bhutan pine, which is used in building construction and to make tea chests; Austrian pine and shortleaf pine, according to the National Wildlife Federation "Field Guide to Trees of North America."
Pines are also harvested to make wood pulp which is turned into paper. Sources for wood pulp include the Mexican pine and Jack pine.
Resin and Tar
Pine resin, which is drained from the tree from cuts in the bark, is used in the production of adhesives, incense, soap, varnish and turpentine, according to The Gymnosperm Database. Sources include the Chir pine, jack pine, slash pine and occasionally European black pine.
Tar has long been used as a wood preservative on the rigging of ships, according to the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association. Other uses include a medicinal treatment for skin conditions such as eczema and by baseball players on bats to improve grip.
A few pines are planted and harvested for their edible nuts, including the pinyon pine and Italian stone pine, according to "Silvics of North America," by Russell M. Burns and Barbara H. Honkala. Pinyon nuts are usually roasted and then sold, although a small number of nuts are sold raw. The nut is also used in candy making. The nut of the Italian stone pine is used in cooking and is sold in bulk.