What Is Trading in Illegal Timber?

From wood that has been logged illegally in its country of origin to wood that is transported across international borders in various states of readiness in an effort to disguise or obscure the true origin of the timber, illegal harvesting of timber threatens the sustainability of forests and their respective flora and fauna.

Such practices also damage the credibility and livelihoods of those who depend on the timber industry: from growers to loggers, manufacturers and craftspeople, retailers, tradespeople and the end-consumer installing engineered hardwood floors or wooden furniture in their home.

The trade in illegal timber is one that is being fought worldwide: to preserve our forests and ensure the sustainable production of wood products, from furniture to engineered flooring.

What Is Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act?

According to the United States’ International Trade Administration (ITA), Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act “is the principal statutory authority under which the United States may impose trade sanctions on foreign countries that either violate trade agreements or engage in other unfair trade practices.” (ITA, SECTION 301)

What Prompts an Investigation?

Unfortunately, there are a few manufacturers that – in an effort to circumvent the legal means by which to harvest and export timber products – will funnel their product through other countries as a way to muddy the origin of the product.

Although certified wood products ultimately cost the consumer more money, certification by authorized bodies such as the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification™ (PEFC) work to ensure the ethical harvesting, sale and distribution of sustainable timber products like engineered hardwood flooring.

Regrettably, such practice casts a pall over flooring companies and related businesses – part of a broader timber industry that works hard to ensure transparency.

How Is the Industry Responding?

The International Wood Products Association (IWPA), is an international trade group working to bring together all segments of the global supply chain and to build an understanding of sustainable management of forests globally.

Sustainably managing forests benefits local communities, the environment and works to generate “economic growth and quality jobs for those who manufacture, sell and use these remarkable products in North America.”

Sustainable Hardwood Flooring: Why It Matters

The investigation into the harvesting and use of illegal timber will have a negative impact on those organizations who have not abided by international law surrounding sustainable forestry.

Ultimately, removing those players who choose not to adhere to practices beneficial to the greater good will further strengthen the industry for those who operate ethically.

As hardwood flooring suppliers and manufacturers, Forestry Timber takes considerable pride in using sustainably sourced, FSC® and PEFC™ certified timber products.

In addition, 70% of every floorboard produced as finished hardwood flooring comes from plantation hardwood – ensuring a better future for our planet and more sustainable residential and commercial flooring in the USA, Australia, Europe and beyond.