PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Roseburg Forest Products, one of the country's leading manufacturers of particleboard and plywood, has ended production and sales of certain lumber products in the midst of a federal investigation into whether the wood came from the illegal logging of African rainforests.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to Oregon Public Broadcasting that its Homeland Security Investigations division has an ongoing investigation into illegal imports of okoumé, a wood used for plywood and veneer siding. The Lacey Act prohibits the trade of plants and wildlife taken, stored or transported illegally.
Okoumé hardwood trees grow in the rainforests of west-central Africa, where the deforestation of habitat for endangered species is drawing the concern of conservationists and scientists alike.
In a statement, Roseburg Forest Products said it would cooperate with the investigation and that the company was unaware of alleged issues with its okoumé suppliers until federal investigators called.