Independent peer-reviewed data verifies that there is a very low risk of any U.S. hardwood being derived from an illegal source. The 2008 Seneca Creek study commissioned by AHEC concludes that:
- Based on published data, as available, and information compiled from state officials and the wood products trade, there can be high confidence regarding adherence to national and state laws in the U.S. hardwood sector.
- The weight of evidence strongly indicates that there is very low risk that U.S. hardwood exports contain wood from illegal sources.
- In assessing the breadth and effectiveness of various regulatory and non-regulatory programs that bear on the issues of legality and sustainability, all states in the U.S. hardwood-producing region can be considered low risk for illegal and non-sustainable hardwood sourcing.
- There can be high confidence that rights of timber ownership are well-established and respected. Numerous legal processes are available to landowners to resolve disputes involving proper title and/or the unauthorized taking or sale of timber property.
- While timber theft occurs and is of concern to private landowners, it is not believed to be a pervasive or systemic problem, especially with regards to U.S. hardwood exports. Stolen timber represents a very small portion of total U.S. hardwood production – very likely less than 1%.
- Comparisons of international governance indicators, such as those compiled by the World Bank, strongly indicate that the U.S. is perceived as a country with a high regard for the rule of law, an effective environmental, labour and public welfare regulatory environment, and a low level of corruption.