“Up to 40% of the world’s wood production is estimated to come from illegally logged tropical forests”. This startling fact was quoted in a BBC news article in Jun 2010.
Illegal logging is causing worldwide deforestation at the rate of one football pitch sized area every two seconds and irresponsible international logging companies are remorselessly profiting from this destruction. In a welcome move to combat illegal logging, the EU will ban illegal timber in 2012, and timber suppliers will have to be able to prove where their timber came from.
One way in which timber merchants have been able to prove their commitment to responsible sourcing of timber is through becoming members of, and working with The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The FSC is a charity dedicated to ensuring that forests are properly managed, with local people being trained and paid fairly to cut down trees in areas where they will naturally regenerate. They also work to protect the rights of the indigenous people whose livelihoods depend on the forests, as well as the varied species of wildlife living in them.
Buying FSC marked timber allows the woodworkers in the construction industry, as well as private markets to demonstrate their commitment to fighting illegally supplied timber and willingness to help the environment.
FSC is not the only mark of responsibly sourced timber however. Timber companies go to great lengths to ensure the wood they provide comes from legitimate sources. When buying timber, always ask if the supplier is able to prove that their timber came from an accountable source.