Forest Conservation: So Much More Than Trees
Forest conservation is one of the two missions that Vermont Woods Studios is built on. We are trying to help raise awareness about the importance of sustainable use of the world's forests, particularly the rainforests. Sustainable use means that when we harvest trees we do so in such a way that the forest regenerates in a healthy fashion. We want the forest to have the same richness and biodiversity in 100 years as it does today. And in the case of forests that have already been damaged (most of them) we want to help restore the original character and biodiversity of the forest.
Why Is A Vermont Wood Furniture Company Concerned About Rainforest Conservation?
Living in Vermont, we spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the Green Mountain forest, which is one of the main sources of our sustainably harvested wood. Our furniture makers have a deep connection with nature and an understanding of how the harvest of wood affects the health of the forest and indeed the planet. We choose to harvest our wood locally and regionally as that allows us to track the regeneration of the forestlands we draw from (Vermont in fact, is a state where the size of our forestland is growing at a rate that is faster than the harvest rate so that is an important part of sustainable forestry in our area).
We avoid the use of imported woods as they are often illegally clear-cut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests. Here are some of the reasons why the rainforest is important to us:
- Rainforests are the "lungs of or planet"
- More than 20% of our oxygen comes from the Amazon rainforest
- The rainforest fights global warming by sequestering carbon dioxide, CO2
- More than half of the worlds species live in the rainforest, even though the rainforest only occupies about 2% of the earth’s surface
- More bird species live in the Costa Rican rainforest than in all of US and Canada
- More fish species live in the Amazon River than in the entire Atlantic ocean
- 25% of our modern medications originate in rainforest plants
How The Wood Furniture Industry is Connected to The Rainforest
On behalf of large multi-national furniture manufacturers, the global timber trade (known for being riddled with corruption) is feeding the demand for cheap wood furniture and flooring through Illegal clear-cutting of rainforests. It is destroying the habitat of our most iconic forest-dwelling species: tigers, pandas, orangutans (all great ape and big cat species are critically endangered). Up to 90% of furniture in the USA is imported with a good chance it’s made of illegal wood clear cut from the rainforest. Much of this furniture is tagged with counterfiet documentation claiming it is certified green by the Forest Stewardship Council, FSC.
How Fast Are We Losing The Rainforest?
- In the last 60 years, half of the rainforest has been destroyed
- At this rate 80-90% will be destroyed in 10 years
- Rainforests do not regenerate. Once gone, they are gone forever.
- 54 of the world’s 193 countries have already lost >90% of their forests
- 1.5 acres (about 1 football field) of rainforest are lost every second
- 137 species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction
- Much of this deforestation is done illegally in third world countries
- Read more in the Washington Post article “Corruption Stains the Timber Trade”
Rainforest conservation (and therefor your wood furniture) is also tied to global warming. Believe it or not, the destruction of rainforests is now responsible for a greater contribution to global warming and climate change than the entire transportation sector. Please join us in avoiding the use of teak, mahogany, rosewood, ipe and other tropical woods in your furniture and flooring. For advice and options on the use of beautiful, sustainably harvested American woods, and American Made Furniture please give us a call.
Learn more about us, our community involvement and our social and environmental mission, including our SaveTheTiger and Plant a Billion Trees campaigns. Also check out our efforts in Rainforest Conservation on our blog.