The Board of Supervisors hereby finds and declares that:
The world’s equatorial tropical rainforests are the Earth’s oldest and richest terrestrial ecological systems. The tropical rainforests are home to half of all the Earth’s plant and animal species as well as thousands of indigenous tribal peoples.
The tropical rainforests are being destroyed worldwide, through commercial logging, burning and overcutting, at a rate of 50,000 acres per day, and this rate is accelerating.
Over 1/4 of all rainforest destruction results from logging of the rainforests to support the international trade in tropical hardwoods.
The United States is the third largest importer of tropical hardwoods.
Deforestation of the tropical rainforests has been scientifically linked to atmospheric imbalance and global warming, known as the Greenhouse Effect, caused by increased concentrations of CO2 in the global atmosphere. The effects of global warming include drought, floods, melting of the polar ice caps and changes in weather patterns worldwide.
Destruction of the rainforest at the current rate results in the endangerment and extinction of 30 species of plant and animal life each day and a consequent loss of genetic diversity invaluable to the production of medicines and food products.
Tropical rainforest deforestation causes the displacement of indigenous tribal peoples, many of whom have never before been contacted by the modern world. Displacement results in the death of these people and destruction of their culture, and loss of their intimate knowledge of commercial, medicinal and nutritional uses of rainforest species, which is often superior to that of any western-trained scientist.
It is critical to the survival of the planet that the United States and other industrialized nations take immediate measures to curb consumption of tropical hardwoods in order to halt the deforestation of the rainforests and to avert irreversible global environmental destruction.
Virgin redwood forests are an ancient and irreplaceable part of our State and national heritage that should be preserved for future generations.
Virgin redwood forests provide the only surviving habitat for rare species such as the marbled murrelet and the northern spotted owl. In addition, these forests protect the streams that provide the increasingly rare habitat of dwindling numbers of salmon and steelhead.
Only four percent of the virgin redwood forests originally found in the United States remain in existence, and these forests are under threat of destruction through commercial logging.
Prohibiting the City and County’s use of tropical hardwoods, tropical hardwood wood products, virgin redwood and virgin redwood wood products will contribute to a necessary reduction in the demand for these products. Such a prohibition would not create shortages of building supplies for the City, inasmuch as many acceptable non-tropical hardwood equivalents and non-virgin redwood equivalents are available.
Many non-tropical hardwood equivalents are grown domestically in the United States. A prohibition on the City’s use of tropical woods would therefore stimulate domestic business and create jobs for American timber workers.
Under this Article the City and County of San Francisco wishes to exercise its power to make economic decisions involving its own funds as a participant in the marketplace and to conduct its own business as a municipal corporation to ensure that purchases and expenditures of public monies are made in a manner consistent with sound environmental policies and practices. The City enacts this Article to prohibit the use, requisition or purchase, directly or indirectly, by any City or County department or agency, of any tropical hardwoods or tropical hardwood wood products as well as virgin redwood or virgin redwood wood products.
This Chapter applies the Precautionary Principle to the selection of lumber and wood products used in City operations in order to protect tropical and old-growth forest ecosystems.
(Added by Ord. 171-03, File No. 030422, App. 7/3/2003)
(Derivation Former Administrative Code Section 12I.1; added by Ord. 391-90, App. 12/6/90; amended by Ord. 409-97, App. 10/31/97; Ord. 38-01, File No. 010010, App. 3/16/2001)