Bay Area Home Depot Stores Stock Up on Sustainable Wood

A spotted owl flies through the recently FSC-certified Mendocino Redwoods

Looking to build a house? Put up a fence? Construct a tree house for your kids? Do you live in the Bay Area? Do you care about the spotted owl? Want to help critically endangered coho salmon?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ll be happy to learn that as of yesterday, 100 percent of framing lumber sold in 40 Bay Area Home Depot stores is now FSC-certified. What does this mean exactly?

It means that consumers who visit one of these stores will be able to walk in and buy wood that comes from sustainably managed forests. Even better, customers won’t be charged extra for it.

Unlike other products, wood that is stamped with the Forest Stewardship Council logo comes with a promise:

FSC-certified forests are managed to a set of standards that are considered the highest and most environmentally responsible available to the forest products industry today.

The Home Depot’s move to 100 percent FSC framing lumber in these stores was made possible after two new California forestlands – Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) and Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) – received their certification.

National Wildlife Federation’s Eric Palola, who serves on the FSC Board of Directors, was recently invited to tour the Mendocino Redwoods. A few takeaways from his visit:

  • They leave any tree over 200 years old (this is a “legacy tree” standard, since this is too young to be considered old growth in redwood country).
  • They are aggressively re-creating streambed structure for Coho salmon and steelhead spawning streams.
  • They are actively managing 120 pairs of spotted owls – as well as several other rare, threatened and endangered species – across a 220,000 acre tract of rugged coastal forest.
  • They practice single tree selection using low impact cable yarding systems.

As the senior director of National Wildlife Federation’s Forests for Wildlife program, Palola hopes to see other companies follow suit.

“Today’s announcement is not only good news for Bay Area consumers, but also a clear signal that sustainable forest management can be good for wildlife and the company bottom line,” he said. “We hope that more companies follow the lead of Mendocino Redwoods and The Home Depot who have worked hard to develop a supply chain with wood that is exclusively from well managed FSC forests.”

For those who don’t live in the Bay Area, you can still make a difference for wildlife with your purchasing decisions. Check out our sustainable wood resources page and download our most recent Garden Furniture Scorecard (pdf), a buyer’s guide to products that come from well-managed tropical forests.