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Today the World Wildlife Fund reports that after losing nearly 70 per cent of its forest habitat and half its population in one generation, the Sumatran elephant is heading for imminent extinction due to deforestation and habitat loss.

These elephants are not alone.  According to the American Museum of Natural History in New York, 3-5 species become extinct every hour of every day. That’s up to 45,000 species every year!

What we’re doing at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture is trying to raise awareness about the how your choices as a consumer directly affect the extinction of endangered species like the Sumatran elephant.  If you can avoid buying imported forest products, especially wood furniture and flooring (if it’s not clearly labelled Made in America–pretty much any furniture you’ll find at Home Depot, Walmart, Bob’s, Lowe’s or other big box stores is imported) you’ll be doing your part to lessen global deforestation and destruction of the habitat these elephants live in.

What else are we doing?

We support a number of projects to save endangered species.  Here’s one I was pretty excited about last week:  when I was on the Vernon Selectboard a few years back, our town partnered with the Vermont Division of Fish and Wildlife DFW to protect habitat and save the critically endangered spotted turtle from extinction.  Last week we were able to celebrate our work.  It’s 6 or 7 years later, but finally through a long process, the turtle habitat is being cared for and hopefully we’ll start to see their population come back.

How about you?  Tell us what you’re doing in the comments below or on our Vermont Furniture 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.

Vt-birds-coffeeI do love my work here at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture but if I could pick a dream job for just a month or a year, I think it might be working as a biologist for The Vermont Center for Ecostudies VCE.

Here's how they describe their work:  "VCE biologists scale high peaks, paddle remote ponds, slog through wetlands, visit ordinary backyards, and traverse the Americas to study birds, insects, mammals, amphibians and other wildlife."  How cool would that be?

One of my favorite VCE project areas is bird conservation.  In fact, we named a line of our furniture after Roz Renfrew a champion VCE ecologist. Roz has dedicated her life to conserving tropical habitat for Vermont migratory birds in places like Hispaniola and Bolivia.  Through her work we've come to understand the importance of buying shade grown coffee.

 

 

Bird-friendly-coffee

 

It turns out that the reason we started Vermont Woods Studios (to promote rainforest conservation) is also the reason to buy "bird friendly coffee".  Whereas coffee used to be grown under the canopy of the rainforest (thus providing great habitat for birds) it's now more profitable to cut the rainforest down and grow coffee in the sun.  Besides requiring tons of pesticides and fertilizers which destroy life in nearby streams, rivers and coastline this un-natural practice eliminates critical habitat for birds.

So… I've been able to make the switch at home, no problem but now I've got to get Douglas to find Bird Friendly coffee for our Kuerig dispenser at work.  I've looked everywhere and can't find it. Any ideas?  I'd welcome your suggestions below or on our Facebook.  Thanks!

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.

Sustainable-furnitureKendall posted a new webpage the other day on the link between your furniture, rainforest conservation and a greener, more sustainable world. It's why we do what we do at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Wood Furniture.

 

Sometimes I feel like a nutcase– living in Vermont and talking about rainforest conservation all the time.  But I can't help it.  It's one of the Top 3 environmental problems of our time, yet few people seem to know about it.

 

Check out these rainforest facts and let me know if you too see this as a matter of great urgency.

 

Rainforest-conservation-furniture

  1. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second (that equates to 50 million acres a year: an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined)

  2. 54 of the world's 193 countries have lost 90 percent or more of their forest cover. Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth's land surface now cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  3. Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation.
  4. We are losing approximately 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.
  5. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
  7. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  8. In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  9. In Indonesia, the current aggressive rate of logging could eradicate native forests within only 10 years. Unlike our temperate forests in Vermont for example, rainforests do not regenerate after they are destroyed. Once gone, they are gone forever and along with them the wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife that inhabit them.

If you've managed to read this far, you rock! Leave a comment below or check in with us now and then on Facebook to see what we're doing to to help replant the rainforest with our Plant a Billion Trees project.  Join us and together we can make a difference!

 

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.

Madagascar If you are buying furniture, flooring or other wood products, please avoid the purchase of ebony, rosewood, pallisander or any other exotic rainforest species. 

One of our founding missions at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture is rainforest conservation.  We are trying to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from.  Did you know that up to 90% of the furniture in America is made from illegally harvested wood that is plundered from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests?  Furniture buyers can help correct this situation by avoiding the purchase of imported furniture and flooring.  The wood for most American made furniture is sourced in sustainably managed forests in the USA.

Here's an example of why this issue is so important.  News agencies, Mongabay and the BBC are reporting again about virgin primary rainforest in Madagascar being illegally pillaged by Chinese logging companies.  Irreparable damage to the fragile rainforest ecosystem is taking place.  The very unique species that live there are being pushed further towards extinction. This is not really news– it's happening continuously in nearly all of the worlds rainforests.

 

This photo shows the deforestation in Madagascar.  With its rivers running blood red from soil erosion and staining the surrounding Indian Ocean, astronauts have remarked that it looks as if Madagascar is bleeding to death.

 

Madagascar-lemurs The Madagascan destruction is to satisfy China's demand for rare rosewood which they use to make beds that sell for upwards of $1 million each.  In the process, we see a free-for-all of illegal hunting of some of the country's most endangered and charismatic species (including the lemur which is found nowhere else on earth) according to Conservation International.

We're asking our customers and readers to avoid the purchase of exotic woods and to spread this message to their friends and colleagues.  There are conservation laws on the books but corruption runs rampant in these rainforest countries.  Only a decrease in demand for the lumber will help to preserve these lands and the species that have evolved there for millions of years.  Please spread the word… Thanks!

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.

Ecolo
Just a quick note to ask you to check out Dr. Glen Barry's initiative, Ecological Internet.  EI provides the most successful free Internet based environment portals and international Earth advocacy network ever, regularly achieving environmental conservation victories around the world.  Glen focuses on rainforest conservation like we do at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture.

Your tax-deductible donation to EI will support one of the leanest most effective environmental advocacy efforts in existence.

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.