Local Wood vs. Tropical Wood

Date: 9 Jan 2009 | posted in: environment | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Jim Keating, Executive Director of Rainforest Relief has been engaging communities to limit their use of tropical hardwoods in waterfront development. To that end the group has developed a model ordinance that cities can use to ensure that the use of tropical hardwoods and the associated environmental impacts are minimized. One modification to this ordinance under consideration is that there should be a provision that materials come from within 500 miles of the point of use. The New Rules Project supports this preference for a local alternative to tropical hardwoods as a modification to the model ordinance.

Inmany places boardwalks, piers, docks and benches are constructed with tropical hardwoods that are not certified as coming from sustainable forestry operations. "We are working to proactively engage everyone to assure the use of alternatives to tropical woods in their redevelopment plans," Keating said. "Durability is an issue that folks are looking for and most hardwoods are very beautiful. Illegal logging is rampant where these woods are found. Ecologically, it’s a catastrophe."

"For waterfront construction, we are advocating the use of structural recycled plastic lumbers," Keating said. "Most are made from recycled soda bottles, milk jugs, fiberglass and other materials."

Buffalo,NY is one major city that is considering a modified form of the model ordinance. "Some times municipalities can make an impact by doing their part," he said. "We have a singular and unique opportunity to do our part. We can change our methods of operation and find a balanced approach to an environmental problem."

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