Ipé from Brazil has traditionally been popular for coastal boardwalks because of its strength, looks and durability. But environmental groups have been asking local authorities to use non-tropical wood or WPC instead.

Rainforest Relief estimates in 2007 that 40% of New Jersey’s boardwalks were ipé.

WPC manufacturer Trex says four towns will use its product to rebuild destroyed boardwalks, including the famous Atlantic Beach boardwalk in New York.

But other towns are still using ipé, especially if it is FSC certified. The town of Belmar in New Jersey planned to use certified ipé to rebuild its boarwalk, but switched to WPC when an environmental group said it would launch a legal fight against ipé’s use.

But ITTO says most towns repairing boardwalks are using materials that they have previously used.