The first step in bringing high-grade hardwoods to our customers is to obtain authorization from the government to conduct logging operations. This requires meeting with the Chief Forest Officer of Belize and agreeing to follow strict environmental regulations.
Next, we locate and collect the wood. To do this, we employ Belizeans, who have unsurpassed knowledge of the local rivers and time-honored log-retrieval methods to recover logs from the river bottoms, as well as vast timber-cutting experience to harvest proper trees from the forests.
Once the wood is obtained, the Belizean Forestry Department verifies that it meets the country’s regulations concerning types of trees and retrieval methods. The wood is then transported to a local mill, where it is cut, dried, and stored to customer specifications.
Before we export, some of our wood requires authorization from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This necessitates further meetings with the Chief Forest Officer of Belize and submission of environmental sustainability plans. Once our wood is ready to export, we ship worldwide from a port in Belize.
Belize lies in the heart of the once-mighty Mayan empire, as evidenced by majestic ruins visible throughout the country. First colonized in the 1600s by the British and Spanish, the country’s main attraction in the New World was its vast forests of precious hardwoods. The British logged Belize, which was known as British Honduras until 1981, thoroughly for 250 years.
To get the logs from remote forests to seaports for shipping to Europe, they were floated down Belize’s rivers. During this transportation process, some of the logs sank to the bottom of the rivers, where they lay untouched for hundreds of years. These are the logs that The Belize Hardwood Company retrieves.
Belize’s old-growth hardwood forests were severely impacted by poor forestry practices from the 18th to 20th centuries. However, with the implementation of responsible forest management regulations and the fact that 70% of Belize presently is covered by forests teeming with almost 700 species of trees, Belize remains a great lumber-producing nation.