Category Archives: FSC Wood

The Lacey Act – What it means for you? Why it’s a good thing for all of us.

Eco-friendly wood

Advantage Trim & Lumber promotes the Lacey Act through responsible forestry.

What is the Lacey Act?

Signed into law in the year 1900, the Lacey Act is a century old United States law that makes it a federal crime to buy, sell, or trade any wildlife or plants that were procured and transported by illegal means. This includes the import and exporting of both domestic and exotic lumber. For the lumber industry during that time, The Lacey Act was a wake up call. Conduct business in a responsible manner that doesn’t destroy the very resource you depend on, or face a federal court. While the battle still rages on against illegal logging across the world, it is companies like Advantage Trim & Lumber that are leading the way when it comes to sustainable forestry.

What does the Lacey Act mean for you? Continue reading

Green Decking Options – 5 Things You Need to Know

Tigerwood is a green decking option.

A Tigerwood deck highlights how wood decking is beautiful, versatile, & eco-friendly.

These days, being green and using eco-friendly products is more than a trend. Our whole economy is starting to recognize and value materials and items that have been manufactured and/or promote a healthy, green, and eco-savvy lifestyle. Even the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has shown us that there can be a heavy price to pay when we rely too much on environmentally problematic and damaging resources and materials.

What does this have to do with wood decking?

Well, there is a huge marketing push led by composite decking companies to cast all wood decking as non-eco-friendly. These companies want you to believe that all wood decking comes from illegal logging and that it decimates the world’s forests. Here’s the truth, as an FSC certified lumber supplier, the wood decking that we sell here at Advantage comes from eco-friendly forestry practices.

Here are 5 things you need to know about Green Decking: Continue reading

Buy Lumber that is FSC Certifed

Buy FSC Wood that is Certified and Reliable

FSC Certified Wood is available.

One of the nice things about being the leading importer of exotic hardwoods is that we are able to adequately provide wood that is FSC certified to the marketplace.

Our high standing with the most reputable mills in Brazil means that we provide the best FSC wood at very competitive prices.

With our Chain of Custody FSC Certification, Advantage Lumber is in a unique position to monitor and track the process. From start to finish, when you order FSC Cumaru, Garapa, Tigerwood, or any other exotic hardwood, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the best quality FSC material.

If you’re looking to accumulate MRc7 and MRc5 LEED points, we’ll also provide our FSC certificate for faster processing through the USGBC.

Contact us today to get a custom quote on certified FSC lumber: 1-877-232-3915

Sustainable Forestry – How The Wolf Tree Plays a Role

Removing a Wolf Tree from a Forest is eco-friendly and promotes growth. The removal of these trees helps define Sustainable Forestry.

There are a lot of bad actors in the lumber industry. However, to lump in every lumber company as a villain of the Earth is both unsubstantiated and very misinformed.

Case in point, we recently received a letter from someone who insisted that we were not an eco-friendly lumber company. This person was concerned about a picture they saw of a felled tree on one of our marketing pieces. Our response was not to ignore this person.  Below is the response that our CEO sent that dealt directly with this person’s concerns.

“Our industry, like any other, does have some bad players. But let me explain why my company is taking the lead in being a part of the solution, not the problem.   I understand your concerns but let me assure you that the tree in question was selected by a Forest Engineer because it no longer produced seed, such a tree is known as a wolf tree.

A wolf tree is a tree that literally dominates its immediate surroundings and, because of its advanced age, can no longer reproduce seeds.  Contrary to ill-informed and, sadly, popular assumptions, a tree of this status is, in fact, not healthy to a forest.

These excessively large trees starves smaller trees of light.  You will see in future publications of our newsletters how these trees decay from the inside out and become hollow.  This is a perfect tree to cut as it is dying from the inside out but is caught at the right time to still yield a lot of usable lumber.

Moreover, a full 30 year management plan was instituted for the patch of land and certified by the Brazilian government agency IBAMA. This agency ensures only trees that are removed are a benefit to the forest.

They allow only a few trees per acre to be cut. They also develop plans to allow the improvement of less abundant struggling species which are sun starved under the canopy of wolf trees. 

It is one of the best sustainable forest plans that I have seen. They are so meticulous in their planning that they even plan the direction the tree will fall when cut so as to minimize damage to smaller trees and to minimize extraction damage.  Replanting of various species in other areas in a 5 to 1 ratio is also implemented.

Proper forest management improves the life and value of a forest when done correctly.   I would be happy to speak to you about any doubts you have on our forest management practices, as it is something we take great pride in.  

Many steps are taken to ensure a positive effect on the forest; for instance unlike any other operation only 10 trees are skidded on any path out of the forest.  This ensures quick regrowth on the logging path of new trees and undergrowth. Unlike other operations do not take these measures, our skidding paths are nearly impossible to see after 3 to 6 months.  

The methods that we employ cost a substantial amount to implement and are anything but profit driven.   The felling of these wolf trees improves the future of the forest, improves the diversity of the forest by allowing younger trees of various species to grow that where struggling around it, and provides the native people in a struggling area with food, as well as many other benefits.

These kinds of sustainable forestry projects is being used by the Brazilian government as a example to other forest management sites and to implement new standards.”

Recently the Brazilian government has highlighted that these methods have led to a significant drop in deforestation. In fact, sustainable forestry has led to the Biggest Drop in Deforestation in 20 years.

With these facts in mind, it’s important that people realize that companies like Advantage Lumber and organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council are working closely to ensure the health and long term sustainability of the rain forest.

With a full inventory of FSC wood available, will continue to lead the way as one of the world’s leading suppliers of eco-friendly wood.

A Vinyl Deck that Uses PVC Can Be Hazardous

According to the Healthy Building Network’s report on PVC in Buildings, “PVC is the worst plastic from an environmental health perspective, posing major hazards in its manufacture, product life, and disposal.”

That’s not some sales guy talking here. The HBN is making this statement because of a chemical used in PVC and vinyl decking called Dioxin. The HBN goes on to say that “Dioxin (the most potent carcinogen known), ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride are unavoidably created in the production of PVC and can cause severe health problems including:

  • Cancer
  • Endocrine disruption
  • Endometriosis
  • Neurological damage
  • Birth defects & impaired child development
  • Reproductive and immune system damage”


Why PVC decking isn’t illegal is beyond me. Once you read the report, I’m sure you’ll agree with me. The fact that there are companies out there that are actually selling vinyl decking leaves me scratching my head. After reading that report and all the science backing it up, why would anyone use that stuff?

As an alternative to building a vinyl deck, one recommendation that the HBN report made was to use FSC certified materials and sustainable wood.

Advantage sells FSC Certified Wood

Advantage sells FSC Certified Wood

At Advantage, we carry and sell FSC wood lines that include:

  • FSC Ipe
  • FSC Tigerwood
  • FSC Garapa
  • FSC Cumaru

Many more species can be obtained by contacting us. We also offer wholesale pricing for those who order a truckload or shipping container’s worth of any of our sustainable wood lines.

Read the Healthy Building Network report on PVC in Buildings.

The Biggest Threat to Rainforests? Cattle Ranching

While many people like to point the finger at lumber companies as the sole contributor to deforestation, there is a sobering fact that most people are unaware of:

Cattle ranching accounts for roughly 80% of the deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.

The market for beef, leather, and other goods has led to the rapid and systemic depletion of the rainforest in ways that the lumber industry can’t even touch. Another thing to consider is that with organizations such as the Forest Stewardship Council and many other environmental groups diligently watching the practices of lumber companies, there is a sustained effort to put back what is used. Basically, many lumber mills will replant tress that were cut down.

However, once acres of forest have been cut down for cattle ranching, that land is pretty much used for one thing and one thing only; cattle.

Yes, lumber companies need to be more responsible and diligent. However, the fact that the cattle industry and large corporations go unscathed for the most part in the public eye needs to change.

Advantage Trim & Lumber prides itself on the many ways we actually boost the forest’s production of trees. Our sustainable forestry practices include:

  • Harvesting fallen and dead trees so that new trees can grow
  • Havesting trees that no longer produce seeds
  • Planting five new trees for every one that has been cut
  • Selective logging

I recently came across a great article that discusses the impact that cattle ranching has had on the  Amazon. It’s a must read for anyone who wants to demonize the lumber industry as the sole perpetrator of deforestation.

At Advantage, we are the leader in promoting eco-friendly forestry practices and have a full inventory of certified FSC wood. We are members of the Forest Stewardship Council and the United States Green Building Council because we realize the importance of having a viable and sustainable forest. Below is an interactive video we created that shows the negative impact that cattle have had on the Amazon.

Cattle Ranching in the Brazilian Amazon

This photo was taken by Rob Pelc on a recent trip to Brazil.

Visit our environmental policy page to learn more.

Deck Design – Green Building with Ipe Decking – Part 2

Deck Design of the Week

Green Home in Michigan

Yesterday, you saw the beginning stages of a green building project designed by Danny Forster, host of Build it Bigger & Extreme Engineering on the Discovery Channel. The finished Omena Lake front home is truly spectacular. Two features that are of particular interest are the extended deck / living room area and the eco-roof. In fact, Danny even shows you how eco-roofing is installed. I have to say, I learned a lot about green building and design from Danny. When he explains how they analyzed the wind patterns of the area to position the home in such a way that wind would keep the home cool throughout the day, I was blown away (pun very much intended)!

Here’s Danny giving you an extended tour of the newly completed Green home:

I was also thankful that Danny gave such a clear and concise description of how eco-friendly wood is cultivated and harvested. This is important to note because according to Danny, he used certified FSC wood throughout the home. So, all of the ipe decking you see comes from sustainable forestry practices that have been monitored by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Why did he use FSC Ipe Decking? If you recall, Danny is trying to get as high of a LEED rating as possible. In fact, because of all of the brilliant designs ideas and the eco-friendly products that he used, Danny has told me that the home received LEED Gold status. That’s pretty significant because this home is only one of seven in all of Michigan to receive that level of LEED certification.

We hope that this home inspires you to use green building materials and techniques. Finally, for those that think that green building is expensive, think again. Danny specifically makes the point that building this green home, even with all of its features and eco-friendly wood and materials, cost the same as any home in the area.

Also, thanks to Danny Forster for taking the time to answer my emails and for the information he provided.