Softwoods show how versatile a material timber can be as it can be used for a great wealth of different applications, from the construction industry (joists, studwork, fencing) right through to high class joinery.
Most softwood is available far cheaper than any hardwood, this is why it is so often used. The fact that most softwoods grow much faster than hardwood may contribute to their comparative cheapness, they are easier to obtain, and tend to have less impact on the environment.
Softwoods are not necessarily softer than hardwoods. The term softwood is used to describe wood from conifers. It may also be used to describe these trees, which tend to be evergreen, notable exceptions being bald cypress and the larches.
Softwood is the source of about 80% of the world's production of timber, with traditional centres of production being the Baltic region (including Scandinavia and Russia) and North America. Although an increasing amount of what is available in Britain is actually home grown.