• seneca creek

G: U.S. hardwood exporters ensure compliance with legally established traditional and civil rights

Key point 

  • U.S. hardwoods are sourced in compliance with applicable legally established traditional or civil rights. 

Key facts 

  • U.S. civil rights laws are well documented and enforced. Violations, when they occur, tend not to be systemic, e.g., state or local law or regulation that violates federal statutes. No U.S. hardwood producer is known to have been subject to regulatory notices or enforcement actions. Most worker issues are resolved or litigated. 

  • Reference to civil rights laws and regulations can be found at: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/civilrights/federal-civil-rights-statutes 

  • U.S. Indian reservations and properties are generally managed in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildland Fire Management https://www.bia.gov/bia/ots/dfwfm  

  • There are recognized and equitable processes in place to resolve legal disputes pertaining to land use and traditional rights, cultural interests or traditional cultural identity across the hardwood region. 


Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment, Section 3.5: Included in private ownership in the hardwood region is timberland owned by Native American tribes. There are 567 federally recognized tribes. In 2008, we reported that 48 Native American tribes own approximately 1.5 million hectares in 21 of the hardwood-producing states. Data on tribal forest ownership is no longer available separately from FIA, but data from the Bureau of Indian Affairs indicates that Native American Ownership has not changed significantly. Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, and Wisconsin are the hardwood states with the largest Native American forest ownerships. While some tribes have sawmill and other production facilities, they account for only a very small share of U.S. hardwood production (estimated at less than 1 percent). 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment, Section 11.2: Violation of Traditional and Civil Rights: LOW RISK is still substantiated by the data sets used in the 2008 study, and now in the 2017 study. There is no UN Security Council ban on timber exports, the U.S. is not designated as a source of conflict timber, federal and state laws are generally consistent with ILO Fundamental Principles and Rights at work, and equitable processes are currently in place to resolve conflicts pertaining to traditional and civil rights. 

Seneca Creek 2017 Assessment Finding 24: The FSC US 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]