As a lumber importer, J. Gibson McIlvain (visit website) takes its social and environmental responsibilities seriously. In fact, according to the International Wood Products Association, the best way to preserve the rainforests is to buy imported lumber. As counterintuitive as that may seem, it is far from absurd. It’s logging bans and disruptions to lumber importing that often lead to deforestation.
Responsible regulation by multiple levels of government, combined with third-party groups, has helped make it easy to track the supply chain and ensure sustainability. The outcome is the continuation of forestry alongside thriving industry that’s meeting a great demand for exotic lumber.
When logging bans occur, the people who formerly made a living through the logging industry are out of work. They need to provide for their families and their own sustenance. In response to these human needs, land previously marked for logging is converted into other financially beneficial resources, like cattle ranching or agriculture. In fact, from 2000-2005, a combined 90% deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon could be easily traced to those two endeavors. (Logging accounted for a mere 2-3%.)
As logging bans continue, so will the bald spots dotting the once tree-populated forests of the world. Perhaps some environmentally conscious extremists would prefer human starvation over deforestation, but they cannot control people’s choices over their own land. Whether logging is allowed or not, most people have no choice but to use their land to somehow support themselves; thus the phrase “living off the land.” While the majority of Americans would say this is a lost art, to most people throughout the world, it is the only way their families have ever lived.
When logging is allowed to thrive, there are benefits to more than just the consumer and supplier: Forestry companies help create jobs, boost local economies, and encourage protection for our forests. Are all forestry operations that responsible and beneficial? Increasingly, that is the norm, due, in part, to two major players in the industry: CITES and The Lacey Act.
CITES helps monitor sawmills and exported wood in the areas in which they’re sourced. While poor planning and past management can lead to over-harvesting of particular species, regulations like that of CITES help diminish the occurrences of such issues. An acronym for the “Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species,” CITES helps identify endangered species of trees and regulate their trade in order to promote those species’ continued existence. Adherence to CITES regulations includes documenting the supply chain from harvesting to leaving the country.
The Lacey Act allows for U.S. prosecution of those contributing in any way to the illegal trade or transport of lumber. Negligence in investigating the supply chain is no excuse; neither is false documentation. Anyone involved in illegally ascertained lumber, from the harvesters to the consumers, can be held liable for improper forestry practices. Finding a lumber importer you can trust is an essential part of making sure you’re in compliance with The Lacey Act.
J. Gibson McIlvain has a longstanding reputation as a viable lumber importer and continues to follow up on all of its lumber sources to ensure their legal and sustainable logging practices.