Is there such a thing as sustainable forestry? What kind of environmental impact does logging really have in heavily regulated areas like the Amazon? Discover how AdvantageLumber.com provides you with decking that originates from well-managed forests. As a certified FSC wood supplier, you'll also learn that unlike agriculture or cattle ranching, logging actually helps preserve the rainforest.
We pride ourselves on the fact that we save thousands of acres every year from being burnt for agricultural cash cropping and cattle land. By selectively harvesting a few trees per acre we can assure that the forest will be able to be reharvested in as little as 10 years. This ensures that the forest will not only survive, but also improve for many generations to come. By buying tropical timbers from a reputable company that practices good forestry, you are helping to save the forest by putting a value on the timber so that the land is not burnt. It may seem unbelievable that someone would burn forest that contained valuable timber, but the fact is that for a cattle farmer it is more profitable than to go through the bureaucracy of obtaining the necessary environmental surveys and obtaining the slew of permits needed to harvest, mill, and export even a few trees per acre.
Since the 1970’s the leading cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is Cattle Ranching. When cattle ranchers first came to the Amazon they contributed to only 30% of all deforestation. However that number increased dramatically when traditional cattle farming was transformed into the large-scale ranching business that exists today. According to The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), "between 1990 and 2001 the percentage of Europe's processed meat imports that came from Brazil rose from 40 to 74 percent" and by 2003 "for the first time ever, the growth in Brazilian cattle production—80 percent of which was in the Amazon—was largely export driven."
Most deforestation (60-70%) in the Amazon is a direct result of cattle ranches. The majority (33%) of the remaining deforestation comes mostly results from small-scale subsistence agriculture. Despite the widespread press attention, large-scale farming (1%), and logging (3%) currently contributes relatively little to total deforestation in the Amazon. Most soybean cultivation occurs outside the rainforest in the neighboring “cerrado” grassland ecosystem and in areas that have been previously cleared.
The logging industry contributes only a small percentage (3%) of Amazon deforestation and yet there are several different final destinations for this lumber. Amazon logging supplies both the international and domestic lumber industries. So of the total 3 percent of logging an even smaller percentage is actually shipped outside of Brazil for international use.
A significant proportion of the billions of dollars this international market represents make its way back to the forests and provides resources to address the real problems facing the forests; poverty and population pressures.
Good markets for wood and wood products will help save the forest. A thriving international market provides an economic reason to carefully manage them. Bans and boycotts of tropical timber products are counterproductive to the purported goal of saving the rain forest in that they reduce the value of the forested land. If we stop buying these products, we would remove the incentive to manage the forests and we would actually encourage their conversion to other uses, which is what we need to avoid.