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Sustainable Forestry

American hardwoods derive from sustainably managed forests in the United States. Regular U.S. Forest Service inventories demonstrate that between 1953 and 2007, the volume of U.S. hardwood growing stock more than doubled from 5,210 million m3 to 11,326 million m3. There was a 15% increase in growing stock between 1997 and 2007 despite strong growth in demand for hardwoods during this period.

U.S. Forest Service forecasts indicate that further increases of 15 to 20 percent are expected in the hardwood growing stock inventory through 2030. Projections of hardwood growth and removals nationwide indicate that growth will continue to exceed removals through to 2050. All forest owners in the United States are subject to Federal legislation to protect habitats for threatened species. Tough regulations governing other aspects of forest management on private land have been implemented by individual states.

Independent studies indicate that there is a very low risk of any American hardwood being derived from illegal sources or from forests where management practices lead to deforestation or to otherwise threaten biodiversity.


Wood is one of the few materials which can be described as truly sustainable. Some of our best loved and ecologically rich ancient woodlands have supplied timber for ships, houses and furniture for thousands of years.

But more and more people are rightly concerned that the wood they are using might be contributing to the destruction of forests around the world. Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC) is an international non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management.

What is the Forest Stewardship Council ®?: The Forest Stewardship Council ® (FSC ®) has developed a unique system of independent forest certification and product labelling, helping consumers identify timber and products from responsibly managed woodlands. The FSC ® is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation (NGO).

What is certification?: Certification is the process of inspecting forests to assess their management according to an agreed set of principles and criteria. These include recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights, long term economic viability and protection of wildlife. A wide range of forests have already been certified, from Swedish pine plantations to tropical rainforests in Brazil.

Who supports FSC?: The FSC ® system is backed by a range of environmental organisations. These include WWF, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, as well as major companies, trade unions and other social groups.

Will it really make a difference?:  Yes, the FSC ® logo shows that timber comes from responsibly managed forests. More FSC ® products mean that more FSC ®certified forests are being managed for the long-term well being of people and the planet.

How does it work?: FSC ® has developed ten rules, or principles, that define good management. These principles are global they can apply to any forest any where in world.

Principles for forest stewardship:

  1. 1. Compliance with laws and FSC ® principles
  2. 2. Rights and responsibilities relating to land tenure and use
  3. 3. Indigenous peoples’ rights
  4. 4. Community relations and workers’ rights
  5. 5. Benefits from the forest
  6. 6. Environmental Impact
  7. 7. Management plan
  8. 8. Monitoring and assessment
  9. 9. Maintenance of high conservation value forests
  10. 10. Plantations.
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AHEC have published a series of environmental reports, with the help of sustainability expert Rupert Oliver, to help inform architects, designers, manufacturers, importers and exporters on the latest environmental developments relevant to American hardwoods. At the heart of this activity is research into the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of American hardwood as a design material. The first phase of this research is complete and the resulting ISO-conformant report on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of rough-sawn kiln-dried hardwood lumber is now available. Sustainability experts PE International prepared the report after an intensive process of data collection, analysis, and review.

The PEFC council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an independent, non profit, non-governmental organisation, founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests. PEFC is a global umbrella organisation for the assessment of and mutual recognition of national forest certification schemes developed in a multi-stakeholder process. These national schemes build upon the inter-governmental processes for the promotion of sustainable forest management, a series of on-going mechanisms supported by 149 governments in the world covering 85% of the worlds forest area. The PEFC schemes account for over 126 million hectares of certified forests producing millions of tonnes of certified timber to the market place making PEFC the worlds largest certification scheme.

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