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High Line Project Slammed For Using Rainforest Wood

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The celebrity-backed High Line project above the streets of New York City has come under fire for using wood logged from rainforests for park benches, bleachers and lounge chairs. A group called “Rainforests of New York” visited the recently opened first stage of the park and passed out information revealing the true nature of the wood. From the article,

“It is a sadly misguided notion that the chic, the exotic and the novel must be provided at the expense of the natural world,” one activist said. “Logging in old-growth forests anywhere on the planet is simply not sustainable, and any certification of this wood is just a moneymaking scheme.”

Cristina DeLuca, a Parks Department spokesperson, referred questions to Friends of the High Line, which designed the park. In an e-mail statement, Katie Lorah, a spokesperson for Friends of the High Line, said, “The ipê wood used on the High Line was chosen for its longevity and durability, and taken from a managed forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which is recognized by many major environmental organizations for creating and enforcing the world’s strongest standards for forest management.”

According to activists, however, the F.S.C. certification is not good enough — citing information where the council certifies logging in old-growth forests and tree farms that are ecologically unsound. For the next stages of the High Line, Rainforests of New York would like to see the group use recycled plastic lumber or sustainable domestic hardwoods. With a new eco-wood laundering scandal shaking Brazil, we hope the High Line takes their advice.

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