Sapele – A Verifiable & Sustainable Alternative to Genuine Mahogany.
In addition to its stability, availability and appearance, Sapele is a highly verifiable, sustainable species — a quality that makes it an excellent alternative to Genuine Mahogany — as well as a great species in its own right.
When Sapele first started growing in popularity, over harvesting was definitely a problem. In fact, the Sapele supply in Western Africa is still recovering. At the same time, greater awareness and regulations have led to recovery. Both Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire have created Sapele plantations. The Congo, although plagued by constant political turmoil, is one of the most significant producers of Sapele.
Logging companies throughout Africa have adopted increasingly stringent regulations, such as TLTV and VLO. By purchasing Sapele from such highly verified stock, lumber importers can easily follow a well-documented supply chain to ensure that the lumber was harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner.
Not only does this scenario offer customers peace of mind when considering Lacey Act legislation, but it also provides buyers with iron-clad certainty about exactly what they’re getting. When African Mahoganies are often lumped together, this kind of careful documentation takes a lot of guesswork out of the process, ensuring that customers who desire a highly stable species like Sapele are getting exactly what they ordered.
As Sapele continues to climb to the top of the list of African Mahoganies, its potential is becoming better and better known. Its performance, appearance, and stability make it ideal for many industries that have not yet discovered its benefits.
For those venturing into Sapele for the first time, one consideration to keep in view is the provenance documentation: If you want Sapele, you need to follow up with your supplier to make sure you’re getting what you want. In addition, you need to check out the legality and sustainability. Not only will double-checking the paperwork ensure that you get what you’re paying for, but it will also promote continued responsible harvesting.
Not only is the harvesting important, but the drying and milling can significantly impact the performance of your Sapele order. Making sure you order from a lumber supplier who understands this valuable species will be key in achieving that.
The less affordable Genuine Mahogany becomes, the more we expect the market for Sapele to grow. Any time a species grows in popularity, questionable saw mills and suppliers come on line, threatening to compromise the supply chain and the quality of lumber. When customers are vigilant and support only the most responsible practices, the problem businesses are discouraged, and legitimate businesses flourish. In the end, everyone wins.
At J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we’re committed to the same kind of responsible sourcing and quality milling and drying that we’ve worked hard to achieve for centuries.