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Ethically Sourced Redwood – What is Ethical Sourcing?

Ethically Sourced Redwood

When working with old growth redwood, the issue of ethical sourcing is particularly important. Redwood is highly sought after for woodworking and construction projects of all kinds. However, sourcing it can be a challenge. Many of our clients take as much interest as we do in where their wood comes from.  Knowing the source of the redwood you buy not only helps you understand the history of a piece, but also ensures that it was harvested in a sustainable and ethical way. In this blog post, we’d like to discuss the importance of ethical sourcing and salvaged wood.

Redwood forest - ethical sourcing

California’s Redwoods

The famous Coastal Redwood, Sequoia sempervirens, grows only along California’s north coast. These are the world’s tallest trees, and some are over 3,000 years old. Extensive logging from the 1850’s to the 1980’s has greatly diminished the redwood forests remaining today. New growth forests have replaced some of what was lost, providing most of the redwood on the market today. The old growth wood that is still available is generally salvaged or reclaimed. In a previous blog post, we explained the difference between old growth and new growth redwood. While new growth is still a great choice for most projects, many woodworkers prefer old growth for its durability, rarity and color.

Today, the burl wood found in redwood trees is especially valuable. Logs with figure such as burl were left behind in the original logging operations because the irregular grain patterns made it unsuitable for lumber. Now, those unusual grain patterns are what make burl wood so popular for furniture, art, landscape decorations, and other crafts. The old stumps and logs once left to rot are now a valuable resource for those with the resources to handle such large pieces of wood.

Burl Poaching

Due to the high value of redwood, poaching is a big issue in California’s national parks. Poachers cut burls from living redwoods in protected areas, which damages and can kill the tree. Poached burl wood is cut and sold quickly, often at comparatively low prices to make a quick profit. Poachers exploit California’s old growth redwoods for monetary gain, with little concern for the consequences to the environment or the quality of wood they provide to their customers.

We’ve seen first hand the negative impacts of poaching on both the redwood forests and the burl wood industry. When buying any wood, especially redwood, it’s important to consider the source and the potential impact on the environment. Ethical sourcing helps to ensure that these unique forests will still be there for future generations to enjoy.

You can learn more about the threat of burl wood poaching here.

What does ethical sourcing mean?

All our wood is ethically sourced, and we take great care to buy only from reputable sources. We cut all our slabs from long-dead stumps and logs left behind by previous logging operations, collected from private landowners. We always make sure we know the source of any wood we work with, and never use burls cut from live trees. The beautiful slabs you see on our website came from trees that were cut long ago. We also go a step further than many companies by ensuring that we process all our wood in safe facilities that provide workers with fair treatment, hours and wages.

Here at Redwood Burl Inc., we all live and work in the heart of redwood country. Redwood isn’t just our business, it’s an irreplaceable part of our home. It’s hard not to love the forests of Northern California, and we know how important it is to protect these magnificent trees. Ethical sourcing isn’t just a good business practice, it’s a commitment to our community and the environment.

Our Commitment

At Redwood Burl Inc, it is our commitment to provide high quality, ethically sourced wood. We make sure we know the source of all the wood we use, and pay careful attention to the environmental and social considerations that come with harvesting burl wood.

We know how important ethical sourcing is to our clients. Customer service is our number one priority, and we take pride in providing our clients with high quality ethically sourced wood. Contact us for more information, or browse our current listings of burl wood slabs, rustic mantels, dining tables and more. We thank you for choosing ethically sourced redwood, and look forward to working with you on your next project.

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