On May 24, a Dutch court ruled that an importer of Azobe timber (Lophira alata) from Cameroon failed to adequately document proof that it purchased timber that was legally harvested in accordance with the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR).
This ruling is significant because it’s the first time a European court ruled that businesses must be able to supply documentary proof of compliance with the EUTR including logging permits, transport documents, and financial records (Saunders 2017).
Azobe wood, also known as Ekki, is naturally resistant to marine borers reducing the need for chemical impregnation. For this reason it’s prized in Europe for marine applications such as the pictured bridge in Denmark (Photo by Lesser Known Timber Species).
Azobe wood originating from the tropical timber exporting country of Cameroon has been under the gun of environmental NGO’s and foreign government institutions for suspected illegal logging since at least 2015.
While TIMBERCHECK supports efforts to reduce illegal logging at the point of harvest, we feel that EUTR rulings such as this one may actually do more harm than good for the tropical forests they target.
Given the recent focus by environmental NGO’s and government institutions on the export of Azobe from Cameroon, buyers looking for legitimate Azobe substitutes may want to consider Angelim Vermelho (Dinizia excelsa) from Brazil.
Angelim Vermelho is also naturally durable and suited for marine applications. Additionally, Brazil has recently launched it’s own tree tagging system that aims to reduce illegal logging at the point of harvest.
Find and contact suppliers of Angelim Vermelho for free using TIMBERCHECK.
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Lesser Known Timber Species lesserknowntimberspecies.com
Saunders, Jade. “Dutch Court Ruling Helps Curb Illegal Timber Trade”. Forest Trends, 7 June 2017.