37 AMERICAN HARDWOOD Southeast Asia Supplement 2019 wood is legally sourced. However only one globally significant supplier of hardwoods, the United States, has invested time and resources to ensure this is independently demonstrated and documented to ensure conformance to laws like the Lacey Act and EUTR. A decade ago, the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) commissioned the world’s first independent sector- wide study to quantify the real risk of illegal wood entering the supply chain. This report, which was recently reviewed and fully updated, confirms that there is a negligible risk of any U.S. hardwood containing wood from illegal sources, specifically that stolen timber represents much less than 1% of total U.S. hardwood production. The authors conclude that they have “high confidence regarding legal compliance in the U.S. hardwood sector”. The assurance offered by this study, often referred to as the “Seneca Creek report” after the company responsible for its preparation, is already well recognised by importers, and by US Lacey Act and EUTR authorities, as providing the kind of documented assurance of legality required to demonstrate conformance. In addition to providing the required legality assurances, there is reliable forest inventory data, collected at regular intervals for nearly a century, to confirm that the resource is not only abundant, but are expanding rapidly. U.S. hardwood forests cover around 111 million hectares, equivalent to about one third of the entire land area of India. The volume of hardwoods standing in U.S. forests, which now exceeds 13 billion cubic meters, has more than doubled in the last 50 years and is still expanding (after harvesting) at a rate of around 150 million cubic meters per year, nearly 5 cubic meters every second. And of course, the hardwoods available from the U.S., species like oak, ash, and tulipwood, are already fashionable in the U.S. and Europeanwood furniture sectors. There is a tremendous opportunity to combine Asian woodworking skills and styles with American hardwoods to produce globally competitive furniture products. By using American hardwoods, Asian wood product manufacturers can transform laws like EUTR and Lacey Act from a threat to their competitiveness, into a major opportunity.