Lacey Act Details

Galleher has a firm policy of sourcing legal wood in compliance with the US Lacey Act and is an industry leader in managing and mitigating the risk that wood may be illegal. Among many other things, we work with suppliers to substitute FSC®(FSC-C092805)-certified products or components for those that come from countries where illegal logging may be a problem.

Galleher Lacey Act Policy & Procedures

Galleher is committed to strict adherence to Lacey Act provisions governing the importation, purchase, or sale of illegal wood.

At no time will Galleher knowingly purchase any wood product whose provenance is unknown, nor will we knowingly purchase any wood product that has been illegally produced in the Country of Origin (COO) or illegally traded through any part of the supply chain.

Galleher has dedicated staff responsible for implementing our Lacey Act policy and procedures. This entails continuous and thorough efforts to exercise “due care” in avoiding wood that has been illegally harvested or traded. The key steps in our procedures.

• Information Gathering
• Risk Assessment
• Risk Management & Mitigation
• Ongoing Implementation

What is illegal wood?

Illegal wood is typically linked with illegal logging, but in fact the Lacey Act covers violations of any national or international laws governing timber production and the trade in forest products. Examples include:

  • Timber theft, i.e. logging in forests without the legal right to do so

  • Logging timber in protected areas such as parks or reserves without proper permission

  • Logging protected species

  • Logging in non-compliance with specifications of a concession permit or harvesting license

  • Illegal documentation (including trade documents)

  • Wood transported or processed in defiance of local and national laws

  • Violations of international trade agreements (e.g. CITES)

  • Failure to pay legally prescribed taxes, fees or royalties

  • Violations of labor laws and worker’s rights (e.g. illegal or slave labor, child labor, violation of the legal rights of indigenous peoples)

Sources: Contreras-Hermosilla, 2002; Miller et al., 2006; GFTN, 2005.

Why is illegal logging a problem?

Illegal logging is most prevalent in parts of the world that still have large areas of forest and where law enforcement and governance is weak. i.e. many countries in Latin America, SE Asia, and Africa, as well as the Russian Far East. The negative impacts of illegal logging include environmental, economic and social aspects.

Environmental impacts include the loss or degradation of forests, as illegal logging tends to be associated with forest mining rather than management. This can result in the loss of habitats and biodiversity. For example, illegal logging is threatening the survival of some of the world’s most endangered primates including orangutans in Indonesia and the Siberian tiger.

Illegal logging is also linked to deforestation and forest degradation which has implications for climate change, since forests play a crucial role in both mitigating against and adapting to climate change. Illegal logging in just nine forest producer countries is estimated to have released 210 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2013.

Illegal logging can result in the loss of government revenue. Such losses can be significant. It has been estimated that the Indonesian government lost $7 billion between 2007 and 2011 due to illegal logging and forest sector mismanagement. Loss of revenue undermines efforts to place the forest sector on a more sustainable footing, as lost revenue cannot be reinvested in the sector.

Furthermore, because illegal logging is often unsustainable, future sources of employment and export revenues are not realized.

Illegal logging also distorts global markets and undermines incentives for sustainable forest management, as illegal timber is often cheaper than legal timber. A study published in 2004 estimated that illegal products were depressing world prices by between 7% and 16%.

The social impacts of illegal logging are diverse. Illegal logging undermines the rule of law and is often associated with corruption. It may also entail a lack of recognition of the land and resource use rights of forest communities, or of the rights of other concession-holders. This can have negative impacts on the livelihoods of local people and result in conflict. The revenues from illegal logging may also fund national and regional conflicts, as has been the case in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Russian Oak

Galleher does not buy Oak from Russia, where illegal and otherwise irresponsible harvesting is currently commonplace. Illegal logging is a huge problem in the Russian Far East, where harvesting of Oak and other species in protected areas is reducing the last remaining habitat of the endangered Siberian Tiger. Most of that Oak is being processed in Chinese factories and sold in the United States, where it is often labeled as ‘European Oak.’

Environmental considerations aside, we also find that true European Oak (from Western Europe) has a more beautiful grain structure than Oak from the Russian Far East. AND, claims that Russian Oak is denser than true European Oak because the trees grow more slowly at those northern latitudes are not supported by science. In fact, the Oak species group is unique in that Oak trees grown farther north actually yield wood that is LESS dense.

Lacey Penalties

Knowingly engaged in prohibited conduct

Trade in illegal Wood or false import declaration

  • Up to $500,000 fine

  • Up to 5 years in prison

  • Forfeiture of goods

Unknowingly engaged in prohibited conduct

Traded in illegally sourced wood – did not exercise “due care”

  • Up to $200,000 fine

  • Up to 1 year in prison OR $10,000 fine

  • Forfeiture of goods

False import declaration –did not exercise “due care”

  • Fine of $250

  • Possible forfeiture of goods

Traded in illegally sourced wood – exercised “due care”

  • Forfeiture of goods

False import declaration –exercised “due care”

  • Fine of $250

  • Possible forfeiture of goods

Expert Staff

Galleher’s commitments to environmental stewardship and leadership are fulfilled by staff who are among the wood flooring industry’s foremost experts. We stand ready to support our customers and other stakeholders in understanding the Lacey Act & illegal logging, CARB, sustainable forestry & FSC® (FSC-C092805), LEED, and other key environmental issues and regulations impacting our industry.

Jason Grant, Environmental Compliance Manager

Jason has over 20 years experience in green wood and green building. In 1992, he co-founded EcoTimber, one of the first companies in the world to bring sustainable wood products to market. As a consultant, Jason has worked with many of the leading companies in the wood flooring industry, as well as the National Wood Flooring Association and numerous non-profit organizations that work to promote and verify responsible, legal forestry. Jason is a LEED AP (BD+C) and is an authority on how wood and related products are credited under LEED.