We are curious about the sustainability of hardwoods like Bolivian rosewood, cherry, etc.

Asked by Tana
West Sacramento, CA

We are making household items from different hardwoods. The woods we use are: Bolivian rosewood, jatoba, cherry, maple, purple heart, African mahogany, zebra wood, bloodwood, wenge, lacewood, and black walnut.


Here are three issues you should consider:

  • origin
  • FSC certification
  • distance


Look at the origin of the wood. If it is indigenous to a rainforest, it is not sustainable.

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)

Verify if the wood being purchased is from an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) member.

This will mean that the supplier practices responsible management of the environment and harvesting of the wood and replanting of trees.


What is the distance that the wood is traveling to you the end user?

Per LEED, it is recommended that materials do not travel a distance of greater than 500 miles. For any distance over that amount, the cost and fuel used for shipping outweigh any advantages of the material.


Most of the wood species you listed are of the exotic variety, and most likely are not sustainable or harvested responsibly. 

But for the success of your project I hope I’m wrong.


For more information:

Read J Neufeld's Q&A "Which species of wood are the most sustainable?"

Tagged In: certified wood

Do you have a question about greening your home? GreenHomeGuide invites you to Ask A Pro. Let our network of experienced green building professionals – architects, designers, contractors, electricians, energy experts, landscapers, tile & stone specialists, and more – help you find the right solution.