Ipe wood and sustainability issues?

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    I’m designing an exterior deck for a public plaza. I’d like to use Ipe wood for it, but am getting flack from people saying that logging of Ipe destroys rainforests. “Exploited by illegal loggers” someone told me. I called one wood supplier and they suggested that FSC certification didn’t mean much. Better to have Brazil’s dept of Agriculture certification. In the end, I need some language that I can put in a specification that a wood supplier can follow. If it means changing wood type, that’s ok , but I need to know it’s comparable to Ipe.

    My understanding of LEED qualifications is that they are looking for FSC certification. Perhaps it will come down to that.

    Does anyone have experience with this issue?

    Andrew Spiering

    I don’t have much experience at all in this area. I do know of a reputable supplier of hardwoods in the Bay Area that might be helpful. There site lacks substantial information, so you would have to call them to get more info. Golden State Lumber

    Also, check out: Splash Pad Park. Walter Hood used ipe successfully in this park.

    Eric Galvin
    Les Ballard

    Yes it is supposed to soon be impossible to get wood (don’t laugh we don’t have that euphemism in Britain) that is not certificated. Boat builders have had the timber problem for longer than house – or decking – builders so I respectfully suggest you contact the nearest traditional nautical types and see if you can tap their source (there may be more than one specie available) – after all, a deck is a deck and importing two lots in one go could be more economical.

    Might large firms in an area, who will want to buy wood over a period, join together to buy and control a sustainable forest somewhere on a charitable trust basis? It might stop it being turned into toilet tissue, palm oil or biofuel. It may also be great for tax purposes and continuity of supply.

    Luv n Lite

    Les Ballard

    Peter H. Wells


    The ipe wood that I used for a deck was sustainably harvested meaning that it was a farm raised product from Brazil. However, it can’t be certified because it changes hands so many times after it is logged and that’s the issue.

    Peter Wells

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