At USPly, we understand the importance of properly sourcing our lumber imports to reduce our effect on the environment and stop illegal wood from entering the global wood market.
And with legislation like the Lacey Act providing updated amendments and guidelines, the United States government is setting new standards for lumber imports.
Created in 1900, the Lacey Act bans illegal trade in plants and wildlife, making it the first law of its kind. It was introduced by Iowa Congressman John Lacey and was signed into law by President William McKinley.
The original act was concerned with the preservation of wild game and birds and made it a federal offense to poach game from one state and sell it in another. Additional amendments to the Lacey Act have occurred several times over the years, offering more protection for sea life and imposing stricter fines on violators of this law.
The most recent amendment to the Lacey Act happened in 2008, and made it illegal to “import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken or traded in violation of the laws of the U.S., a U.S. State, or relevant foreign law.”*
This amendment applies to lumber imports from outside of the United States and will affect a number of products, including paper, plywood, furniture, and other wood products.
It helps ensure that lumber is sustainably and legally harvested to protect the environment and reduce the impact of the global wood industry on our planet. It also requires companies to document the identity and source of their wood imports so that violators can be brought to justice.
When it was introduced, this new amendment took aim at illegal lumber importers, and from the latest data, we've seen that it’s working. In fact, illegal wood imports have dropped by 32-44% since the Lacey Act was amended**.
The United States still imports as much as $3 billion in illegal wood, so there’s still work that needs to be done, but with such a significant decrease based on just one piece of legislation, there’s hope for change.
The biggest hurdle to the United States in their battle against illegal lumber imports is other countries that lack an infrastructure to protect the legal wood industry.
Without the support of the biggest wood importers in countries like China, the illegal wood trade will continue and could lead to unsustainable practices around the world.
At USPly, we believe that the only way for our industry to succeed in the long run is by sourcing our materials through environmentally consciousness practices. To do this, we comply with the Lacey Act to ensure we obtain our lumber legally, with responsible partners importing the highest quality products available.
We also certify every piece of wood we use so that it can be traced back to its roots. By making these efforts, we hope to contribute to the sustainability of the global wood industry and help our environment thrive for future generations.