When the sailing ships first delivered mahogany logs to Europe, it inspired and delighted the cabinetmakers and became the premier wood of choice. By the 1980’s, the trees were endangered and their extinction seemed possible, even likely. By regulation, conservation, and certification, a sustainable harvest can now be imagined. The article copied below from the Forest Stewardship Council Newsletter addresses this promising turn of state in Brazil, but it applies through much of the range. With rare exception, we have purchased FSC certified mahogany from Central America for our furniture. The wood delivered here is not the same old, slow growth wood from giant trees that so pleased the cabinetmakers of the past. But the wood from younger, quicker growth trees that is delivered here retains much of the character: color, workability, strength to weight ratio, and durability outdoors.
Excerpt from “News and Views – FSC Newsletter 06/2016 – 22 March 2016”
Welcome Back, Mahogany!
Mahogany is back on the market with FSC®certification.
One of the most beautiful and famous Amazon timbers, the mahogany, will return to the market. Mahogany became a target of deforestation in the 1980s, after its beauty and strength attracted the attention of consumers. Due to intense exploitation, the extraction and trade of mahogany was prohibited from October 2001.
Now limited trade is being allowed again. Currently, extraction is only authorized by the Brazilian Government in areas of sustainable forest management, following strict criteria established by the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (known as the CITES agreement).
The return of the mahogany trade, this time with FSC certification, is an achievement for the Amazon and for all of us. Previously a symbol of deforestation and concentration of wealth with a few, today the restored trade in the mahogany shows that it is possible to responsibly manage native forests, with environmental and social benefits guaranteed.
In responsible forest management, the forest portion where trees are extracted is divided into several sections, called forest stands. Analyses are performed to define trees that are of adequate age and size to be harvested. This way, the forest cover is maintained and its value conserved.
FSC certification is one of the main tools to fight deforestation. It is also a powerful tool for the protection of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem services – such as carbon sequestration and storage, watershed services, and soil conservation. On top of that it encourages improved workers’ rights and welfare and better relationships with local communities and indigenous peoples, as well as adding value to products.