After several years of protests by environmentalists, Home Depot has agreed to phase out wood products from environmentally sensitive areas, including redwood, cedar, and lauan trees from old-growth forests. Home Depot, the largest home improvement retailer in the U.S. and the largest lumber retailer in the world, urged other companies to join the effort to protect endangered forests. The phaseout will be completed by the end of 2002, and the company will also try to purchase substantially more “certified lumber,” which is tracked from harvest to sale to make sure it meets strong environmental standards. The changes won’t affect product prices because the company will absorb any added costs, said Home Depot CEO Arthur Blank. The Rainforest Action Network and other enviro groups applauded the company’s decision.