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Tropical woods come from the tropical and subtropical forests of Asia, Africa and Latin America. More than half of the tropical forest areas have already been lost, and every year, another 16 million hectares are deforested due to destructive exploitation: this is twice the area of Austria. According to estimates by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), at the current rate of rainforest destruction, 17 000 species become extinct every year – more than 50 a day. As different species depend on each other, the extinction of one species may destroy many other species as well. Much of the wood referred to as plantation timber also comes from cleared rainwood areas.
Tropical wood is used in many different building products, ranging from windows and doors to skirting, handrails, door jambs, parquetting, furniture and door veneer, as well as for exterior use such as veranda floors etc.
The goal here is to use regional wood and to avoid tropical wood from destructive exploitation. Whenever tropical wood is used, it is essential to ensure that it comes from sustainably managed tropical forests, which is confirmed through certification for the respective forests or products from these forests. Usually the following criteria must be met:
From this point of view, the wood certification system of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has by far the most significant and most reliable label for sustainable forestry, especially with regard to tropical woods.
As wood is traded on a global scale, certification systems are only credible if the entire chain of production and processing from the producer to the final customer is transparent and can be accounted for, through meeting the Chain of Custody (CoC) requirements.
With FSC CoC certification, customers can be sure that all wood(-based) products with are marketed as FSC-certified actually come from FSC-certified forest management.
Tropical woods from non-sustainable production must not be used in wood and wood-based products.
Manufacturer's declaration that the products offered do not contain tropical woods.
If a product contains tropical wood, it has to be confirmed in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council criteria covering the entire chain of production up to the manufacturer’s supplier that the wood in question comes from sustainable production. This must be proven after delivery by means of delivery note and invoice.
The following certificates are accepted (CoC…chain of custody):
All products awarded one of the following eco labels meet these criteria:
Alternatively, the corresponding baubook declaration may serve as evidence (www.baubook.info/oea).