Illegal logging is a big problem in certain countries, and even in countries where it’s relatively under control, it’s possible for people to buy illegally harvested wood unwittingly because it often gets ‘laundered’ with fake paperwork from a legit-looking source. Interesting enough, organized crime in the region is responsible for these acts taking place. With bribery, extortion, criminal activity and forgery all part of acquiring illegal logs, it makes sense that criminals are interested in the easy money available.
The largest source for illegal logging in recent years has been Russia, with Chinese companies forging sourcing information in order to enter into international markets. Chinese companies knowingly purchase illegal wood and mix it with legal woods to avoid detection. As much as 80 percent of the lumber exported from the region is illegal. The destruction of the hardwood forests is harming the livelihoods of local people who rely on the forest, as well as worsening climate change. Our world as a whole needs to protect as much of the environment as possible, and protecting these forests are an easy way to protect them.
Another one of the victims of these illegal logging practices is the small population of the world’s last Siberian Tigers. With only a small population of 450 tigers left in regions where illegal logging is taking place, this is a significant environmental problem that could possibly lead to the extinction of this beautiful exotic animal. The geographical range of Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East stretches south to north for almost 1,000 km (620 mi), primarily where illegal logging is taking place.
Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc is a strong example of how companies use indiscriminate sourcing practices that fuel rampant illegal logging in the world’s last region of temperate old-growth hardwood forest, while consumers, through demand for hardwood flooring, end up complicit in forest destruction.
With profits as a morality guide, big box lumber suppliers are directly responsible for allowing illegal wood to enter into the marketplace. Controlling the marketplace determines sourcing capabilities and these companies need to account for the amount of destruction illegal woods cost. Make sure to take a good hard look at the sourcing practices of your lumber supplier in order to avoid supporting these kind of practices.