The city of New York will phase out the use of tropical hardwoods in construction and maintenance projects, and will focus on more sustainable alternatives.

New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, made the announcement last week during a UN conference on climate change.  The city also released a report detailing the short and long term strategies they’ll use to reach this goal.

Prized for its durability and resistance to rot, tropical hardwoods are favored for things like boardwalks, park benches and ferry docks.  However, since these woods are not always harvested responsibly, the demand contributes towards the decimation of tropical rainforests.  Non-profit organization, Rain Forest Relief estimates that New York city is the largest purchaser of tropical hardwoods in North America, purchasing over $1m each year.

The city has pledged to reduce the use of tropical hardwoods immediately by 20% as part of the city’s greater sustainability initiatives as laid out by Bloomberg in PlaNYC.

Read more at AM Metro NY, Epoch Times.