This article came out a while back, but I came across it again and did a double-take after reading the Leave No Trace Center's recommendations on hammock camping, particularly the size of the webbing straps.
LNT recommends straps at least 2-inches wide and up to 4-inches wide.
I've known Ben, the LNT Education Director, for a few years now, so I got in touch with him about the statement. He said that the recommendation comes from discussions from different land agents (presumably their partners at National Parks, Forest Service, etc.).
We had a good back-and-forth and he did agree to update the post to include 1.5-inch webbing, but that's about as far as he would push it.
It is an interesting revelation, especially with what I'm seeing as a trend here on HF with folks looking to get narrower and narrower straps (e.g., 0.75-inch Mule Tape or 0.5-inch strap). I think we should proceed with caution in this vein because of the potential PR damage we could make for ourselves. New hangers in particular will be looking for the recommended standards in which to operate.
On this topic, I think it is in our best interest to look at some sort of scientific study on strap use, tree damage, etc., to provide the best recommendations to land agents and camp hosts, etc. From my own observations, there is a lot of subjective opinion out there on strap usage, what works best, and what doesn't. It would be nice to have an objective study done that could put some of these questions to rest.