Logging bans and political rants about them make it seem like the lumber importing industry is the cause for deforestation of the rainforests, but the team at J. Gibson McIlvain lumber company, along with many experts in the industry, believe otherwise.
The world’s rainforests are shrinking. There is no denying this fact. This is a problem that has an impact on all of us, and it does need to be stopped. This is not a position worth arguing over, because we all likely agree on it. However, the cause of that deforestation is worth considering when working towards a solution. It makes sense to blame those who are importing lumber for this problem. After all, they are getting their income from the trees those forests provide.
Yet, let’s take a closer look at this scenario. Lumber harvesting companies and importers rely on that lumber for their life supporting incomes. What happens if they allow the forests to disappear? They will lose their income. Why would they allow this to happen? The fact is, most ethical companies would not. It makes sense, both ethically and financially, to make sure that the forests are thriving. These companies are going to take strong measures to replant and replace what they are harvesting. If they do not, they will have no income years down the road.
So, who is really to blame for deforestation? Consider what happens when logging bans are put in place. A land owner has a substantial plot of forested land growing mahogany that he responsibly harvests. Suddenly, his local government decides to place a ban on mahogany. He cannot use this land for its original purpose. Yet, the land is still his to do with as he wishes. So, he burns down the trees, clears the land completely and plants cash crops. He has to make an income, after all.
What has happened? Deforestation. In this scenario, the logging ban actually made the problem worse.
Of course, there will always be companies who are looking to make a quick buck and which are forgetting to think about the future. These are the logging companies that lead to deforestation, prompting logging bans. Yet, banning logging altogether is not the answer.
If you really want to protect the rain forest, consider shopping with importers who are members of the International Wood Products Association, or IWPA. These companies use ethical practices when harvesting and importing their lumber, and members of the IWPA have taken the time to research what needs to be done to harvest wood while still keeping the rainforests healthy and vibrant.
If you spend your money with IWPA companies, and not the others who may not be using these safer practices, you can do your part to save the rainforests, and still enjoy the exotic hardwoods you love. This, not logging bans, is the answer to deforestation problems.
Learn more about the lumber industry
- FSC and LEED certification make green lumber difficult to use
- Just because it is FSC certified doesn’t mean it is legal lumber
- CITES and lumber import regulation
Photo credits: Top © Tatsuhiko Nozaki / Fotolia. Bottom © Стецко Евгений / Fotolia