TROPICAL HARDWOODS CONSERVATION & SUPPLY
There is currently much criticism and condemnation of the destruction of the tropical rain forests and rightly so. Feeling is running high, particularly amongst conservationists who are mounting campaigns with a view to making everyone aware of the need to preserve these tropical forests which are the source of the World's most exotic hardwoods. It cannot be denied that there is wanton destruction and damage now being caused to these forests every day and the reasons for this are manifold.
One of the most serious causes of destruction is forest fire, brought about deliberately or by accident. Much of the deliberate fire raising is done to facilitate shifting cultivation and the spread of cattle ranching. Other major sources of damage are mining, iron smelting, charcoal burning and the demand for progress in urban development and the supply of reservoirs and other utilities.
It is said that up to 90% of destruction can be attributed to fire and very little indeed to the timber trade.
It is surely in the best interests of the international timber market to preserve and ensure the supply of exotic hardwoods to meet current demand and to ensure that such beautiful timber is available for our children and our children's children. The harvesting of mature trees which will inevitably deteriorate with age and eventually fall, is surely justified in the cause of good husbandry where reafforestation is being practised as is the case in this country and throughout the northern hemisphere. Most of the great rain forests are situated in the third world countries who are particularly in need of income through export and in many cases the export of timber. Herein lies a major source of the problem but I am pleased to be able to say that some at least, have realised the need for conservation and planned harvesting and replanting.
Indiscriminate boycotting of hardwood would be unfair to those countries which are trying to cooperate in the preservation of their forests and at the same time maintain their much needed export income. It would indeed be non-productive insofar as this country (a very minor importer) is concerned, The need is for carefully planned Worldwide timber conservation to ensure good husbandry and to meet the needs of the poorer third world countries for export income.
The Timber Trade Federation of the United Kingdom was the World leader in this sphere and is establishing the International Tropical Timber Organisation which has just these objects in view through good forest management. It plans a levy on all hardwood imports and it is hoped and expected that this policy will be adopted by the EEC. The income from this source which should be considerable will be ploughed back into conservation and reforestation under careful supervision. All foreign timber sold by Lincolnshire Woodcrafts is purchased from companies who obtain their supplies from areas of good forest management. It follows that any timber on sale here will not only be of first class quality but will encourage good reafforestation policies in the country of origin and the preservation of future stocks, but will also meet the vital needs of the poorer countries of the World.