Peak wood is the point in time when the maximum rate of wood harvesting is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. The term 'peak' refers to the Hubbert peak of a resource. Unlike resources such as petroleum, which are destroyed in use, wood continually grows and recycled, but it requires habitat (forests, woodland and timber plantations). Thus peak wood and peak oil cannot be compared directly.
In the 2011 book Life Without Oil by Steve Hallett, the author argues that the collapse of the Roman Empire may have been linked to a peak wood scenario in the Mediterranean basin. He suggests that, as wood had to be hauled from ever further away, the law of diminishing returns undermined the economic performance of Roman industry, leaving Rome vulnerable to the other, well documented problems of invasion and internal division. The issue is discussed as cautionary tale comparing it to contemporary society's potential fate under a post-peak oil scenario.
- "Peak Wood: The Importance of Being a Forest". Santa Barbara Independent. April 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2010.
- John Perlin (June 2010). "Peak Wood: Nature Does Impose Limits". Miller-McCune. Retrieved 1 June 2010.
- "Peak Wood". The Anthropik Network. October 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2005.
- Hallett, Steve (2011). Life Without Oil: Why We Must Shift to a New Energy Future. Prometheus Books. Retrieved 24 July 2012.