Last updated on September 17th, 2019 at 09:03 am
At Vermont Woods Studios, we certainly have a passion and appreciation for high quality craftsmanship and woodworking, but, the truth is, Peggy founded this business out of a passion for forest conservation.
It was this one astounding statistic that really lit a fire under her in 2005:
Every second, an acre of rainforest is lost forever
Along with trees, some of our favorite iconic wildlife species that live in the rainforest are being lost. For example, all the great cats (lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, etc) are critically endangered as are all the great apes (gorillas, chimps, orangutans, etc).
Our planet is actually losing over 100 unique species of plants and animals every day. The cause is habitat destruction.
The global timber trade has been infiltrated by organized crime to the point where illegal wood (often clear cut from the rainforest) is pervasive throughout the imported wood furniture and flooring industry.
Much of it is accompanied by counterfeit documents labeling it as green certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
National Geographic published a report in 2014 on a UN study showing that the global environmental crime industry (with illegal logging being the primary component) has now surpassed the global drug trade in terms of estimated annual revenue.
Forests control water runoff, filter water, protect soil, cycle and store nutrients, and help regulate the climate. They’re a natural filtration system for our air and water.
Although the United States is adding to internal forest growth, our country contributes to deforestation by importing wood and wood products, much of which comes from the Amazon and the Boreal rainforests by way of China and Russia.
Global Furniture & Flooring Statistics
- Up to 90% of the imported furniture in the US today is made from wood that is illegally clear-cut from the world’s rapidly disappearing rainforests
- According to a Washington Post article, 70% of furniture sold in America is imported
- The environmental crime industry is worth an estimated ~$200B per year with illegal logging accounting for half of that worth.
- About 3% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are a byproduct of cargo ships used to transport goods like lumber, furniture, and flooring around the world.
- More than half of the planet’s species live in the rainforest even though the rainforest only occupies about 2% of the earth’s surface
- The amazon rainforest alone accounts for 20% of all forest land in the world
- The amazon rainforest is the largest forest in the world and contains ¼ of all the freshwater on the planet
- The amazon rainforest alone holds 48 billion tons of carbon dioxide in its trees
- 20% of the world’s oxygen is produced in the Amazon rainforest by trees absorbing our carbon dioxide emissions and recycling them into oxygen. They’ve been dubbed the “lungs of our planet.”
- Although the earth’s rainforests cover less than 2% of its total surface area, they are home to 50 % of the Earth’s plant and animal species
- 50,000 square miles of forest, an area larger than the state of Pennsylvania disappear every year due to forest devastation.
- Global rainforest destruction continues to proceed at a rate of >1 acre per second. 60 seconds every minute. 60 minutes every hour, 24/7/365.
- That’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every hour day, 365 days/year.
Climate Change & Illegal Logging
- 17% of all carbon emissions released into the atmosphere are a result of the destruction of the world’s forests
- About 20% of global warming is attributed to the destruction of the rainforest.
- Rainforest deforestation contributes as much to global warming as the sum of all the cars, trains and planes in the world
- Approximately 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation
- Deforestation is the second-largest human-caused source of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, second only to the consumption of fossil fuels.
- The tropical forests, which are being rapidly cut down hold 228-247 gigatons of carbon. (World Wildlife Foundation)
Scary Stats About the Future of Rainforests
- The Siberian Tiger– the world’s largest cat- is literally on the brink of extinction with only about 400 individuals remaining in their natural habitat.
- Many of our favorite iconic species are critically endangered due to deforestation, including all species of big cats and all species of big apes
- An estimated 137 species of plants and animals are driven into extinction every day due to deforestation
- If deforestation continues at this rate, the rainforests could be gone in < 40 years
- We may only have 10% of our rainforests left by 2030. (The World Counts)
- 28,000 species of animals will become extinct in the next 25 years due to deforestation. (One Tree Planted)
If these statistics about how the U.S. furniture industry impacts climate change and deforestation around the world are concerning to you, make sure to buy 100% American made furniture, and only that made with domestic hardwoods.
To learn more about how we’re fighting against climate change and deforestation, read about how our business promotes sustainability.
- NatGeo: New UN Report Puts Staggering Dollar Figures on Environmental Crime Revenues (2014)
- The World Counts: Deforestation Facts & Statistics (2014)
- Washington Post: How Asian Furniture Manufacturers Avoid Tariffs Importing to the US (2011)
- Washington Post: Corruption Stains the Global Timber Trade, China & Russia to Blame (2007)
- Environmental Investigation Agency: Liquidating the Forests: Hardwood Flooring, Organized Crime, and The World’s Last Siberian Tigers (2013)
- Business Insider: Organized Crime is Getting Rich by Cutting Down the Rainforests (2012)
- Furniture from China contributes to deforestation in central Africa (2018)
- The Rosewood Trade: An Illicit Trail from Forest to Furniture (2019)
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