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In 2008, the United States amended its long standing Lacey Act to prohibit commerce in illegally sourced plants which includes wood products. This change in the law creates a previously non-existent level of responsibility along the entire supply chain. To abide by the law, business practices will change to perform “due diligence” that the first basic component of the law is not violated. First, timber harvested legally is determined according to the laws of the foreign, state, or tribal owner or governing authority. The second legal requirement triggers the Lacey Act violation which is the trade of that “tainted” wood product or log, whether for export, transport, sale, purchase, or import.
Illegal logging contributes to deforestation, habitat destruction, and climate change with the loss of forest cover. More importantly, it undermines legally harvested and traded forest products. The discounted value of illegally logged trees is estimated to be 15-20% of legally procured wood. This is a serious detriment to sustainable forestry whose root causes are poverty, weak governance, and corruption. Click here to see an article on the Chatham Study. (For the full study, please visit our Document Library)
Illegal logging is not an issue in North America because of well developed public policies, a multifaceted governance structure with laws, regulations, enforcement, monitoring, public reporting, and lots of lawyers. Please click here to view the full Seneca Creek Study.