A Rainforest Grows for Brooklyn Bridge: Sustainably Harvested Wood Proposed for Boardwalk

bkln-bridge-boardwalk photo

photo: Phillie Casablanca via flickr

New York City has recently come under fire from rainforest advocates, and rightfully so: The City is the country's number one buyer of endangered rainforest wood. However, as The New York Times reports, a movement is underway to replace the 127 year old bridge's 11,000 tropical wood planks with more sustainably harvested materials. Pilot Projects' Scott Francisco is working on an initiative he calls the 'Brooklyn Bridge Forest', a sustainably harvested section of rainforest, specially designated for growing wood for the Brooklyn Bridge boardwalk.

The project's web site writes:

The Brooklyn Bridge Forest will be a delineated area of existing tropical forest that will supply lumber for the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade in perpetuity -- even as it functions as an intact multifunctional ecosystem. This Forest will be a landmark preservation model on the world stage, as well as an actual geographic destination supporting continuous research and ecotourism alongside social, economic and environmental cultivation.

Though the exact location is undecided, 5,000 acres in Guyana's troubled Iwokrama Forest is in consideration. Francisco is currently looking for support, investors and donations.

It's hard to accept that any harvesting of rainforest wood can a good thing, despite Francisco's arguments that as a historical landmark the Brooklyn Bridge should maintain its use of real wood, and that "a rainforest can exist as both a source of wealth to its inhabitants, and as a working ecosystem." Rainforests of New York, a project of Rainforest Relief and the New York Climate Action Group, is already unhappy with Mayor Bloomberg's 2008 promise to reduce quickly the city's use of tropical wood by 20%, and eliminate it altogether by 2030.

That said, even if truly sustainable uses of rainforest wood are few and far between, but the Brooklyn Bridge Forest has the potential to make the list.

More on Rainforest Conservation:
Climate Change May Destroy Up to 80% of the World's Rainforests by 2100
Can Your iPhone Save a Rainforest? Nurturing Virtual Trees to Save Real Ones
Eco-Certified Paper Razing Sumatran Orangutans' Rainforest Homes, Displacing Indigenous Peoples

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