We all want to do whatever we can to help protect the environment. No one wants to see old growth forests and sensitive habitats wantonly destroyed so that we can have nice hardwood floors in our homes. However, there is a potential for that to happen, especially when it comes to exotic woods that are harvested in the developing world.
How do you know that your flooring is being harvested in an environmentally friendly way?
Some wood products continue to be made from wood harvested offshore illegally or without any regard for damage to the environment. The loggers who do the harvesting often work under dangerous conditions for very little pay. Rainforests continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate (100 acres a minute). It’s not just a problem in the developing world – 95% of old growth forests in Canada and the US have already been lost.
There is a way that you can ensure that the wood flooring you purchase is harvested and processed in as environmentally friendly a way as possible. Buy products that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). In order to be certified, wood needs to be sustainably grown, harvested, and processed. The FSC has 57 conditions that wood products must meet in order to be certified. They include the protection of local wildlife and minimal use of pesticides. The FSC even ensures that the loggers who harvest wood products have access to basic human rights like the right to form unions.
The Green Leaf Program certifies that wood products are manufactured from lumber harvested in North America using environmentally friendly methods. Certified sustainable wood flooring isn’t necessarily more expensive than flooring that isn’t.
While it can take some shopping around to find wood flooring that’s certified as environmentally friendly, it’s available in all species popular for flooring including oak, cherry, maple, birch, and exotics like teak, rosewood, and cumaru.
If you dream of covering your floors with hardwood, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are doing your part to protect forests, sensitive habitats, and the people who live among and harvest the trees.