The history of boat- and ship-building is, unfortunately a history of forest destruction and, more recently, of rainforest destruction.
One of the most popular woods for boats and ships has been teak, logged originally from southeast Asia, including India, Thailand and Burma. About 150 years ago, British in Burma established a system of planting teak, where it hadn’t grown before, utilizing the native population’s shifting cultiavation system. This system eventually forced the natives to move on to other lands.
Many of these areas are now being forcibly logged by members of the ruling military junta in Burma — logging and milling which most often involves slave or forced labor.
Modeled on the British system, the Dutch copied this in Indonesia and now Indonesia is a large teak producer. Teak is not native to Indonesia. These “plantations” are actually rich, second-growth forests and are now being illegally logged like much of Indonesia.
Teak was used by the British for years for ships-building. Later, when it became more expensive and harder to get and fiberglass was introduced, only the decks and trim of most ships and boats continued to be made of teak.
Other destructively-logged woods from the tropics have also been popular in ships and boats such as mahogany, African mahogany and marine-grade plywoods made from okoumé or other African woods.
Today most small motor boats are made almost entirely of fiberglass but some companies continue to use tropical woods for interiors and trim. However there is still a rich tradition of wooden boat-building and mahogany and other destructive woods continue to be used.
Many modern sailboats still use large amounts of teak for decks and trim and outfit interiors with “exotic” tropical woods.
As well, large ships, especially cruise ships — built to impress, continue to be made using vast amounts of teak for decks and large amounts of tropical woods for interiors and furnishings.
The following companies build sailboats or sailing yachts using tropical woods.
Send a message to these companies demanding that they stop needlessly using tropical hardwoods for sailboat apportioning.
The following companies build or own cruise ships made with tropical woods.
Disney Cruise Lines
Send a message to these companies demanding that they stop destroying rainforests for luxury cruising.
Copyright 2002 Rainforest Relief