The Good Wood Guide

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Page - June 29, 2012
Greenpeace’s forest campaign is committed to protecting the world's remaining forests and plant life. Through it, we promote solutions which work to ensure that timber comes from environmentally and socially-responsible forest managements.

We also investigate and expose trade in illegal and destructively logged timber. We challenge governments and industry to end their role in forest destruction.

Logging is the single biggest threat to the Congo Basin rainforest, a resource that almost 12 million people depend upon.

Right now, logging companies working mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are busy cutting down trees over 50 million hectares of rainforest, or an area the size of France.

Buying Wood


Wood is a commodity central to modern-day life, it is found in every household and in every office. However, illegal logging, often found together with corruption and conflict, endangers the survival of plants, animals and humans. That's why it is always important to make sure your wood products come from sustainable, responsibly-managed sources.

Here are some resources to consult when buying wood products:

  • The IUCN red list: The World Conservation Union publishes a red list of threatened species, according to their risk of extinction. When you are thinking of buying a specific wood, visit the website to search for the best product,
  • FSC Certification: Choose timber with the FSC label to ensure that it comes from sources that responsibly managed according to strong environmental and social criteria. Always ask your local wood suppliers if their stock is FSC-certified.

Endangered African Wood Species


These wood species are found in Africa's Congo Basin (Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo). The rainforests in these areas are home to an astonishing amount of animal and plant species, and are critical to the survival of the three of our closest animal relatives -- the gorilla, the chimpanzee and the bonobo, all of which are endangered. Learn more about our forest campaign in the Congo Basin.

>> Click on a wood type to read its info or expand all answers and collapse all answers.

This species of wood, also referred to as African Walnut is only found in the Congo basin and is listed as endangered. It is best to avoid buying this wood completely. Ask your local timber dealer to stop selling it if you see that they are.

The Azobe tree speies found in the Congo Basin, and is listed as vulnerable.

  Iroko/African Teak
An African Teak species of tree, found in the Congo Basin, listed as vulnerable.

Species found in the Congo basin, listed as vulnerable.

  Khaya/African Mahogany
An African Mahogany species, found in the Congo basin, listed as Vulnerable.

  Sapele/African Mahogany
Sapele is also an African Mahogany, found in the Congo Basin, listed as vulnerable.

  Utile/Sipo/African Mahogany
Utile is another African Mahogany found in the Congo basin, listed as vulnerable

Wenge species is found in the Congo basin, Tanzania and Mozambique, and is listed as vulnerable.


These tree species are those that are found in Africa and are vulnerable or threatened. More a more comprehensive list of international timber, visit the Good Wood Guide.

If you would like to find out more about the wood in your home, visit our Forest House!