Interpol estimates that at least 15 percent and as much as 30 percent of the wood sold on the world market is harvested illegally. This means that there is a chance that the hardwood floor in your home is the result of illegal logging.
Illegal logging leads to destruction of wildlife habitat
To harvest wood in an unregulated fashion results in the rapid loss of trees, and this affects all wildlife in the forests. When the habitat is destroyed illegally for hardwood floors, the animals are pressured into extinction. An example of this is the Siberian tiger in eastern Russia and the northern areas of China where a large illegal market for wood is sourced. The tiger’s habitat is under pressure of destruction, and this has led to their numbers dropping fast. There are approximately 450 left living in the wild.
Illegal logging contributes to global warming
Cutting down trees contributes to global warming. By reducing the forest, there are fewer plants consuming carbon. This has a net effect of increasing carbon levels in the atmosphere. Legal logging consists of operations where the forests are replenished and not cut back dramatically. Hardwood flooring can be an environmentally friendly product as it is a renewable resource.
Laws against illegal logging already exist
The solution to the problem of the selling and distribution of illegal hardwood flooring in the United States, as well as other countries of the world, is one of law enforcement. The laws already exist, making certain wood illegal to sell. The Lacy Act has been in existence for well over a hundred years and protects a variety of animals and plant life from being obtained illegally. In 2008, lumber was added to this law. All hardwood floors sold in the US should be from legal sources.
The Environmental Investigation Agency’s report
This organization, operating out of the United Kingdom, published the results of their findings last year. Their investigation was done undercover and was well documented. The extent of illegal wood harvesting was unveiled as well as the effect on the environment. The report was focused on eastern Russia and included findings about the Siberian tiger. There was one company in particular that was identified that is a supplier of many retailers of hardwood floor products. This has made many wonder if their floors are made from stolen wood.
Many companies selling wood products, including Universal Hardwood, are taking careful steps to make sure that their products do not contain wood that has been illegally obtained. Although it is the job of government to fight the problem of illegally harvesting wood, consumers can also help by demanding that retailers they are buying a hardwood floor from demonstrate that the wood they obtain is harvested and sold legally. Rest assured when you shop from us, you will get high quality hardwood floors from responsible sources, not illegal ones.