I guess I can understand the popular logic that leads to thinking that endangered lumber species are better off left alone. After all, how can taking them down and using the lumber they produce possibly help them? Everyone knows that cutting down a tree means, well, less trees, right?
As much sense as that line of reasoning may seem, right off, it’s actually incorrect. Why? It fails to take into consideration market realities — namely, the needs and decisions of landowners and the power of motivation in ensuring further availability of lumber.
Because of those factors, it’s actually lumber bans that much more heavily contribute to deforestation. With the legal regulations in place that regulate the source and supply chain of exotic lumber species, even lumber still considered “endangered” can be harvested responsibly.
What part can you play in helping ensure that exotic trees will not die out? Actually, it’s a simple solution: Keep buying exotic lumber.
TV Trends and Devaluation
While the prohibition of logging seems like it would keep the forest nice and safe and full of trees, it actually has the reverse effect. Let’s look at an example from the world of technology: When flat-screen TVs first came out, CRT TVs began to lose value, to the point that many people simply threw theirs away. Most were probably not disposed of properly, so today they’re likely leaking toxins into our soil. This scenario illustrates the way a no-longer-desired item can become a problem for the environment.
How Forests Lose Value
Have you ever stopped to wonder what would happen to exotic forests if there was no longer a demand for the lumber they produce? We actually don’t have to just wonder; we can look at real life examples.
From the year 2000 to 2005, widespread deforestation occurred in the Brazilian Amazon. Ironically, it began with outrage from misinformed people who thought the logging industry was to blame for deforestation of a Mahogany forest. A chain reaction began, eventually leading to widespread deforestation caused by many groups outside the lumber industry. A logging ban led to closed sawmills, lost jobs, and devaluation of a once-valuable natural resource.
Landowners With No Choice
With the inability to make money from Mahogany, land owners had to find a new way to make money. Many opted to farm the land or use it for cattle ranching — which they had every right to do. Of course, in order to provide the proper environment for those endeavors, clear-cutting was required.
To break it down, cattle ranching accounts for 65-70% of deforestation, and agriculture amounts to 25-35%, adding up to at least 90% of all deforestation. By contrast, logging can be blamed for a scant 2-3%. To see visual representations of this and other deforestation situations, you can visit Mongabay.com.
Not only does the lumber industry give value to the exotic species found in rainforests, but it also has the greatest incentive to protect and preserve these cherished lands. After all, without the rainforests, sawmills would eventually run out of their only product and means of survival.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.