Did you know that continuing to purchase Teak lumber is the finest thing which you can do to help maintain the health of Teak forests? For other exotic species of lumber, the same fundamental principle applies. (Consider Mahogany, Ipe, Cumaru, etc.) Unfortunately, there is a lot of false information spread by well-intentioned environmentalists. But the facts speak for themselves: purchasing imported lumber is good for the environment and for the world economy overall.
Governmental Rules May Unintentionally Encourage Deforestation
Did you realize that logging bans are more likely to cause deforestation than actual logging? The same factors led to the conclusion that the Yasuni-ITT program, despite its lofty goals, failed tragically. Unfortunately, laws like CITES that are intended to ensure ethical harvesting can also cause lumber to lose value.
A species loses value once it is prohibited. Deforestation is frequently the outcome when there is insufficient demand for a product, as there can be with any type of goods under consideration. While logging alone is responsible for about 2% to 3% of deforestation, cattle ranching is the main driver of deforestation, accounting for 60% to 70%. An additional 25–35% of deforestation comes from both large and small-scale agriculture.
The land will be used to make money in another way if it cannot be used to benefit from the lumber sector. While we fervently hope that the ever-fluctuating Myanmar Teak legislation will provide the groundwork for Teak’s future, Teak won’t survive if the market for it vanishes.
How to Verify Your Teak Source Is Legal
While we firmly advise you to keep purchasing Teak lumber, we would be remiss if we did not caution you to exercise caution when dealing with what is certain to be an increasing proportion of Teak that has been sourced illegally. Teak buyers will need to be extra watchful about their sources of genuine Teak, especially in light of concerns about steep export tariffs on Teak.
You can typically tell whether the Teak wood which you buy is legal by asking these three crucial questions:
1. Who is the official importer?
Check out this post to learn what an “importer of record” is. The importer of record is not legitimate if they are not a member of the International Wood Products Association (IWPA). Simply put, Teak imports have only been permitted for IWPA members.
2. Did Myanmar Timber Export (MTE) produce the teak?
Currently, Teak can only be lawfully imported by IWPA members and exported by the MTE. Your Teak lumber is not legal and legitimate if it comes from any other source.
3. Is an IWPA license number listed in the import documentation?
All Teak that is legitimately exported from Myanmar will have a reference to an IWPA license number, making it simple to determine legitimacy.
Don’t risk purchasing any Teak wood if the response to any of those three inquiries is unfavorable or dubious. Keep in mind that the Lacey Act makes you accountable for the legality of any imported lumber you buy, and ignorance is not an acceptable defense.