Sustainable Local Lumber

New Mexico Pine Boards and Block Plane

Warped, cupped, twisted, split and checked. I end up sorting through an entire rack of lumber at the Big Box store to find enough good boards for any project. I've also noticed a distinct lack of FSC-certified wood at most of our local lumber yards. Finding quality and sustainable lumber for wood-working projects has become a frustrating experience for me. But, I've found another answer - locally harvested and milled lumber!

Maybe your town is different, but our local lumber mills aren't exactly on Main Street. I wouldn't even have known where to look except for another eco-minded dad who is building his own home using New Mexico lumber. I made a few phone calls and a couple of visits to get my order of clear pine boards for an interior window trim project. Fortunately, the folks at this local lumber mill were used to working with amateurs like myself and helped select and mill exactly the wood I needed.

The wood I chose is Pine from a forest thinning project on the Jicarilla Apache Nation near Dulce, NM. This is an economic development project that has the side benefit of thinning the forest to a more healthy tree density. Other regional logging projects cull bark beetle-killed trees which can still be used as lumber and will further reduce the risk of high-intensity forest fire. When properly managed, these thinning and culling projects improve forest health and the safety of nearby communities.

While my lumber doesn't have a FSC stamp on it, I know that the wood is locally harvested, locally milled and cut from trees selected to improve forest health. Not only is the wood sustainably harvested, it's within 10% of the price and much better quality than what the Big Box lumberyard sells!

More Info:

Forest Stewardship Council

Spotted Owl Timber

Jicarilla Apache Nation

Evergreen Magazine - Forestry in Indian Country: Progress and Promise

Forest Guild

New Mexico Forest Industry Association

Global Warming is Doubling Bark Beetle Mating, Boosting Tree Attacks Up To 60-Fold, Study Finds