Luxury Furniture | Avoiding Global Rainforest Destruction | Choosing Sustainable American Made Furniture
Organized crime is currently responsible for an unprecedented rate of rainforest destruction.  Unchecked illegal logging is rampant in tropical countries too poor to effectively monitor and enforce conservation regulations.  You can help save the rainforest by avoiding the purchase of imported forest products like wood furniture and flooring.

Forest conservation is at the heart of our mission at Vermont Woods Studios and we’re always trying to raise awareness about where your wood furniture comes from.  If you’re committed to buying American made furniture– no worries.  Chances are it’s made from legal wood, sustainably harvested from well-managed forests right here in North America.

But if you’re buying imported wood furniture (and according to a Washington Post article 70% of furniture sold in America is imported) then: Houston, we have a problem.

A recent Washington Post article by Brad Plumer entitled Organized Crime is Getting Rich Cutting Down the Rainforest describes how the illegal logging trade has become just as lucrative (and far more destructive) than the drug-trafficking industry.  50 to 90 percent of forestry in tropical areas is now controlled by criminal groups!  “A great deal of logging simply takes place illegally — much of it in tropical areas such as the Amazon Basin, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia.” (ref: United Nations and Interpol)

The U.N. estimates that illicit logging is now worth between $30 billion to $100 billion, or up to 30 percent of the global wood trade.  That illegal wood is often shipped from pristine rainforests to China, Vietnam and other third world countries where it’s fabricated into low quality furniture which is sold to US consumers. We’ve written quite a bit about the links between rainforest destruction, global warming and the furniture and flooring you choose for your home:

If you’re considering buying furniture at IKEA, Home Depot or any big box store… ask where the lumber originates and let us know what you find on our Facebook or in the comments section below.  Then re-discover sustainable, American made wood furniture and join us in feeling good about your furniture and your green home.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Forests, Furniture and The Future
Check out The Nature Conservancy’s info-graphic to see where your furniture, flooring, coffee, paper and other forest products come from and learn what you can do to help save the rainforest.

Our sustainable furniture company was founded in 2005 on a mission of forest conservation.  I had been studying rainforest conservation for years and wanted to see if I could do something to help change this startling statistic:

Every second of every minute of every day…

We lose over 1 acre of rainforest.  Permanently.

Several years prior to starting Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture I had formed a non-profit corporation with the same mission (rainforest conservation) but I was never really able to get the funding I needed to lift it off the ground.  So our wood furniture company was built as a for-profit corporation to help accomplish the same goals.

It’s not always easy to explain why a Vermont based fine furniture company is so committed to rainforest conservation.  When I saw this info-graphic, Forests and the Green Economy (courtesy of The Nature Conservancy) I thought it might help.  Here are a few rainforest facts that might surprise you:

  • 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
  • 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
  • Rainforest deforestation contributes as much to global warming as the sum of all the cars, trains and planes in the world
  • Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now they cover <6%
  • If deforestation continues at this rate, the rainforests could be gone in < 40 years and once they’re gone, they are gone forever.  Rainforests do not regenerate the way our Northern temperate forests do

The Nature Conservancy summarizes this and other compelling facts about the rainforest in their info-graphic.  Along with the World Wildlife Fund they are among the world’s best hopes for saving the rainforest.  Check out their info-graphic and learn about ways you can help everyday through your choices of food, paper, furniture, flooring and other forest products.

At Vermont Woods Studios we donate $1 for every sale to the Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project and run occasional benefits to support non-profits that work to save the rainforest and it’s inhabitants.  Learn more about our work in the Mission section of our blog and website.

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Saving the Rainforest | Sustainable Wooden Furniture and Flooring | What's the Connection?
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.  It’s the greatest extinction in the history of the earth.  Once the rainforest is gone, it’s gone forever.  It doesn’t regenerate like our northern temperate forests.  Interested in conserving the rainforest and preserving the iconic species who’ve lived there for millions of years?  Learn how your choices for furniture, flooring and other forest products can help.

Where Does Your Wooden Furniture Come From?

Ever wonder where your wooden furniture comes from?  Seven years ago I founded Vermont Woods Studios because I didn’t like the answer to that question.  And the answer is:  if you didn’t  purchase American made furniture, yours may well have originated in a beautiful tropical rainforest that was being plundered by illegal logging activities.

One Acre of Rainforest Disappears Every Second

I spent the first few years at Vermont Woods Studios trying to raise awareness about rainforest devastation and how it’s driven by the wood furniture and flooring industries.  Did you know that the rainforest is disappearing at the rate of >1 acre per second?  It sounds unbelievable and sensationalist, doesn’t it?  I mean that’s over 4000 football fields every hour of every 24 hour day, 365 days/year.  But it’s true and that fact is why we continue to work so hard to offer sustainable, locally made furniture at this Vermont furniture store.

You and I Have the Power to Save the Rainforest

Consumers of wood furniture, flooring and other forest products are the key to saving the rainforest.  If you’re taking the trouble to learn about sustainable wooden furniture and how you as a consumer can be part of the global solution, we want to help.  I’ll be writing a series of blogs over the next few months to provide some background information regarding the past, present and future of the rainforest and how we consumers can do our part to save it.  Have any rainforest references or stories you’d like to share?  Use the comment section below or join the conversation on our Facebook.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Tiger Conservation | Boycott Livi and Paseo Toilet Paper | Stop Deforestation in Sumatra
Vermont Woods supports the World Wildlife Fund in their efforts to save tiger habitat in the Sumatran rainforest.  Each sale of Vermont made furniture plants one tree to help reforest the planet through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project.

Vermont Woods Studios was born out of our passion for rainforest conservation.  I remember when we were getting started back in 2005 we came up with a manifesto that explained the connection between wood furniture, rainforest conservation and global warming (in retrospect it looks a little too emotional, but at least I can say that it was spoken from the heart).  Anyway, seven years later our passion for conservation has turned into a growing sustainable furniture business where each sale is used to help reforest the planet through The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees project.

I realize most people see topics like rainforest conservation as  boring but the truth is that our favorite iconic species like tigers, lions, pandas and gorillas all make their homes in the forest and all are critically endangered.  With rainforest destruction proceeding at the rate of 1 acre/second (every minute of every hour of every day) there’s not much time left for these species unless we take action.

We use this blog occasionally to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and how that affects your favorite creatures of the forest.  Buy imported furniture and there’s a good chance it’s made from rare woods that have been clear-cut from the rainforest.  Buy American made furniture and it’s probably made from American wood that’s been harvested sustainably.  There are other things you can do to help save tigers and the rainforest.  When buying coffee, nuts, rubber, paper or any type of forest product, check to see if it’s been produced sustainably.

Here’s an example of how you can make a difference.  It’s a project by the World Wildlife Fund where consumers are boycotting Paseo and Livy toilet paper which are made by clear-cutting ancient, old growth trees in primary rainforests of Sumatra.  The boycott is working and as a result WWF is able to help conserve Sumatra’s rare tigers and orangutans.  Check out WWF’s website and see what you can do to lend a hand with this important project.

And if you love tigers as much as we do, learn more about how homeowners can help Save the Tiger on our website.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Faux-wood-furniture-poly

 

 

Many times customers who come to us looking for real wood (usually teak or mahogany) outdoor furniture opt instead for our "faux wood" Polywood all-weather furniture

 

Why?  Well although we love the warmth and integrity of real wood, it's is increasingly being seen as inappropriate for outdoor, all weather furniture.  The main issue from an environmental standpoint is durability and longevity.  Eco conscious customers are looking for furniture (both indoor and outdoor) that's built to last a lifetime… stuff that's not going to end up in a landfill.  So for all you wood lovers (myself included), here are the:

 

Three Best Features Of Faux Wood All Weather Outdoor Furniture

  1. Faux wood, Polywood furniture doesn't rot, mold, mildew, crack, flake or warp like real wood outdoor furniture does
  2. Faux wood, Polywood furniture is maintenance free. No more scaping, sanding or painting.  It's made to rest and relax in, rather than create work at the end of the season
  3. Faux wood, Polywood eliminates the need for winter storage.  You can leave your polywood furniture outside all winter.  So you save storage space, you save wear and tear on your back (remember wood and polywood furniture are heavy).  And you save the time it takes to haul that heavy furniture around every Spring and Fall

Now I know how hard it can be for wood lovers to come to terms with buying "fake wood".  I never would have considered it myself if I hadn't seen the statistics our environmental conservation partners are citing about the rate we're losing the world's precious rainforests.  But as I started to look into Polywood and try out their "faux wood" furniture I became hooked.  It looks fabulous, it's very comfortable and it's maintenance-free.  It's the clear environmental and design/style choice for all weather outdoor furniture. 

At Vermont Woods Studios, as wood furniture makers, our mission is built upon forest conservation.  We're especially committed to preservation of the rainforests– the places where teak and mahogany outdoor furniture originate.  In concert with rainforest protection groups worlwide, such as Rainforest Relief, we'll continue to work showcasing better alternatives to outdoor furniture made of tropical woods as part of our rainforest conservation efforts. 

Still not convinced?  Here's a few more reasons to buy polywood "faux wood furniture".  Check them out and let us know what you think.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.