As a direct importer of many exotic lumber species, J. Gibson McIlvain would be foolish to contribute to deforestation: If all the trees are gone, we’ll have nothing to sell. Species such as Genuine Mahogany, Teak, and Ipe are considered by some to be “endangered,” and yet we still sell them. Why? Contrary to popular misunderstanding, responsible lumber harvesting and trading positively impact the continuation of the rainforests and the entire ecosystem, helping to deter further global warming.
Finding the Real Culprits
Perhaps some of the finger-pointing at the lumber industry is due to the need people have to be able to blame someone or something for the problems that exist. Certainly, there is a dark side of the lumber industry; however, it is far from being the norm. By and large, deforestation is caused by the disruption of lumber importing. The issue goes like this: If mills with integrity can’t sell their lumber, they can’t make money; if they can’t make money, they can’t survive.
Because of the impetus that survival provides, the land once used for responsible lumber harvesting often succumbs to other industries. Repurposing the land often requires clear cutting the forest, in order to make space for gainful uses such as farming or cattle ranching. And this isn’t just a guess based on logic alone: Deforestation in the Amazon from 2000 to 2005 was the result of a combination of factors:
- Logging: 2-3%
- Large-scale Agriculture: 5-10%
- Small-scale Agriculture: 20-25%
- Cattle Ranching: 65-70%
Clearly, those who fail to purchase imported lumber are contributing far more greatly to the problem than are those who do.
Realizing Additional Benefits of Forestry
Ecological benefits are only part of the positive impact that the lumber industry provides globally. Forestry contributes positively to local economies across the globe, many in third-world countries. Jobs are created, providing greater awareness regarding the protection of natural resources through sustainable and responsible logging practices. Forestry companies (and lumber importers, of course!) have a vested interest in protecting the forests: Without trees, they will lack a product to sell.
Avoiding Irresponsible Harvesting
In recent years, increasingly stringent government regulations have contributed to a system that assists lumber importers in tracking the lumber they receive. Because J. Gibson McIlvain is a direct importer, we cut out the middle man, working directly with the mills themselves. Part of our initial research regarding each exotic lumber source includes detailing the local and international legal details as well as verifiable sustainability. A potentially tainted supply chain is simply unacceptable to us, and we know that our many loyal customers appreciate our fastidious lumber source-selection process.
J. Gibson McIlvain is a major lumber importer with a centuries-long track record for providing high-quality lumber and decades of importing untainted exotic species directly from their source. But we’re not the only one. If you want more information about determining how responsibly harvested the lumber from any source may be, you can read more on the website of the International Wood Products Association.
Learn More about the Lumber Industry
- What to look for when purchasing Teak lumber
- Plenty of Ipe in Stock to Rebuild after Hurricane Sandy
- Lacey Act compliance with J. Gibson McIlvain
Photo credits: Top © JoseASReyes / Fotolia. Bottom © Sandra Kemppainen / Fotolia.