August 18, 2014

Illegal Hardwood Harvesting Destroys Siberian Tiger Habitat.


The Environmental Investigative Agency (EIA), a nonprofit organization, dedicated to researching, collecting data and exposing potential environmental dangers, has been investigating the devastating and illegal logging in the old-growth temperate hardwood forests of Russian Far East (RFE).

Nine-six percent of the illegally harvested hardwoods are being transferred “into China, through factories and warehouses, to its ultimate destination in showrooms around the world. It is then purchased by consumers unaware of the devastating effects on the environment, local peoples, and the forest industry, as well as on law enforcement and governance throughout the RFE.” ~ Liquidating the Forests, EIA’s report.

One of the largest corporations distributing the illegal wood into the USA is Lumber Liquidators.

“The EIA’s investigation revealed that since the 2008 Lacey Act amendments became law, Lumber Liquidators has imported millions of square feet of solid oak flooring from a manufacturer that freely describes its own illegal logging practices and that buys wood from suppliers that are under scrutiny by Russian authorities for illegal logging in the most threatened temperate forest in the world.”

~ Liquidating the Forests, EIA report.

Key hardwoods being targeted are the 300 year old Mongolian oak and the great Korean pine trees as well as ash, elm and linden. The effects of logging the nut-bearing trees like the Mongolian oak and Korean pine “poses a particularly severe threat to the region’s ecosystem by undermining the whole food chain.” The inefficient and harsh harvesting techniques currently being documented, give the forest no time to recuperate.

The illegal logging is threatening the habitat of the last 450 critically endangered Siberian tigers and the Far Eastern leopards.

The other animals and native plants are being destroyed in the corrupt razing of these forests: wild boar, red deer, Sika deer, roe deer all of which the Siberian tigers depend on as a primary food source, are rapidly diminishing too.

The dangers of the illegal logging infiltrate to the local villagers who depend on the forest for their livelihood and economic survival.

It is imperative that consumers be conscientious of the source when purchasing hardwood flooring and hardwood furniture. If you are looking into purchasing hardwood flooring products, choose sustainable products. Make sure it is certified wood flooring.

The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a nonprofit group that promotes environmentally safe forestry practices. The FSC’s approval on wood products abides by standards to protect the forest and wildlife.

Reclaimed wood flooring, using salvage wood from an old buildingis another alternative.

Another option is suppressed wood flooring.  Suppressed wood flooring is when a forest is deliberately thinned-out to prevent disease and fire susceptibility.

It is promising that “new regulations in the United States, the European Union and Australia [are] prohibiting the import of illegally sourced wood products [and] have proven to be successful in decreasing illegal logging worldwide.” ~ Liquidating the Forests, EIA report.

Still we must make every effort to protect our forests.


http://eia-global.org/campaigns/forests-campaign/liquidating-the-forests/ http://www.reddit.com/r/todayilearned/comments/2dj3fq/til_that_lumber_liquidators_the_usas_largest www.motherearthnews.com/diy/sustainable-hardwood-floor-options



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Editor: Travis May

Photo: Pixoto/Chris Bartell

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