Quick Guide to Exotic Timbers in the UK

Haldane UK’s commitment to only every purchasing timbers from sustainable and well managed sources is well documented, so when we get asked for specific timbers for certain projects, we have to be very careful.

Every timber supplier must work within strict guidelines to ensure the products they are supplying are not having an adverse impact on the environment.

One of the most important regulatory bodies is CITES, or to give it its full name, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

CITES is an international agreement between governments which produces 3 classifications of timbers depending on the level of protection on each.

Appendix 1 lists species which are most endangered and prohibits any commercial trading.

Appendix 2 lists species of timbers which are not currently threatened but may become so unless the trading is closely controlled. International trade of these timbers must be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate.

Appendix 3 contains a list of timbers which have been included at the request of a party which regulates trade in that species and requires cooperation from other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation of timber sources.

Brazilian Mahogany or Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) as it is commonly referred to in the trade, is listed under Appendix 2. 

Other timbers on the list include: 

  • Brazilian Rosewood
  • East Indian Rosewood
  • Honduran Rosewood 
  • Cocobolo
  • Brazilian Tulipwood
  • Kingwood
  • African Blackwood

So Does This Mean It Is Impossible to Get Handrails and Components Made of These Types of Timbers?

The short answer is no. It is still possible, if you can source the material.

The CITES lists are updated on a regular basis which may mean some companies may have limited stocks of traditional timbers such as Brazilian Mahogany and certain types of Rosewoods and Teak.

As long as they are able to demonstrate the timber was purchased from an official source and according to the regulations, you can still access these timbers.

As one of the biggest specialist timber machining companies in the UK, we use a large volume of exotic hardwoods, many of which we hold in stock.

To find out more about our current stock levels or if you are in any doubt about timber usage, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01592 775656 and speak to one of our team.