• seneca creek

E: U.S. hardwood exporters practice due care and support due diligence systems

Key points

  • U.S. exporters must comply with due care requirements of the U.S. Lacey Act.
  • Procurement regions for hardwood sawmills and concentration yards are most commonly 100 miles, and rarely more than 250 miles. Hardwood inputs can be traced back to the state(s) within the procurement region.
  • The species of hardwood inputs used in the final product are known. 
  • No U.S. hardwood species are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • A risk assessment of sources of supply is available to identify the level of risk of illegal logging or controversial, uncontrolled sources.

Key facts

  • All hardwood logs procured by AHEC members are within known and documented supply bases. 
  • U.S. Federal and state policies and programs that address timber theft, other legal sourcing issues, and sustainability concerns are effective and aggressively enforced.
  • Companies maintain records of suppliers, species, volume, and source of origin.
  • Supply Base maps are maintained and readily available (electronic or hardcopy).
  • No CITES related requirements exist for U.S. hardwood species. A reference for scientific and common names of native US species can be found in the Silvics Manual of North America Volume 2: https://www.srs.fs.usda.gov/pubs/misc/ag_654/volume_2/silvics_v2.pdf 


Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment, Section 2: Since 2008, there have been significant international developments to address illegal logging and trade, including legislation in the United States, the EU, and Australia.. The requirements for legal sourcing of U.S. hardwood products are the same as for other suppliers into the markets where the prohibitions apply. 

See also: Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment, Section 11 & Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment, Section 12

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 2: Based on an examination of pertinent data, we conclude that all states in the U.S. hardwood-producing region can be considered Low Risk of sourcing illegal hardwoods per the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, the Australia Illegal Logging Prohibition, Japan’s Goho program, and the due diligence and risk assessment requirements of the certification programs (FSC®/SFI®/PEFC®) operating in the United States.

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 7: Stolen wood very likely represents a negligible volume in the mix of hardwood products exported, almost certainly less than one percent. The most commonly reported incidents of timber theft involve poorly marked or disputed property lines leading to timber trespass. [Section 5]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 8: Since 2008, several states have further strengthened enforcement capability and/or increased penalties for crimes involving timber theft. [Section 5]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 9: Since 2008, the amended U.S. Lacey Act has strengthened U.S. law and regulation with respect to illegal sourcing of wood materials. [Section 2]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 10: The data indicate that federal, state, and local laws governing various aspects of forest management are effective and enforced. We are highly confident that national and state laws that apply to the hardwood sector are effective and enforced. [Sections 6, 7, 11; Appendix D]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 11: The international engagement by the United States, and its strong domestic legal framework for enforcing and prosecuting against illegally traded wood products (made stronger since 2008), further mitigates the risk of U.S. hardwood products originating from illegal sources. [Section 2]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 12: The sourcing of U.S. hardwoods is almost entirely from privately-owned forestland. Private lands account for approximately 92 percent of U.S. hardwood production. Of the land in private ownership in the hardwood region, 65 percent is owned and managed by approximately 9.4 million family forest owners (nearly 11 million for the U.S. as a whole). The average holding is just over 9 hectares. [Section 3]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 13: The rights of timber ownership are well-established and protected in the United States. Landowners can make independent decisions about how their land is managed and used. Most U.S. forest landowners own and manage their forestland for reasons other than timber production. [Section 3]

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 24: The FSC U.S. national risk assessment process has affirmatively determined Low Risk of illegally harvested wood, wood harvested in violation of traditional and human rights, and wood from forests in which genetically modified trees are planted. [Section 11]