The largest single use of dimensional tropical hardwood in the US is for furniture. The most popular tropical wood for US manufacturers is mahogany. But substitutes like andiroba (King mahogany) and others are often used. Other tropical woods used in furniture manufacturing include lauan, teak, ramin, cocobolo, wenge, purpleheart, nyatoh, durian, mango and scores of others.
|Indoor furniture may be the single largest use of dimensional tropical hardwoods in the U.S. Pictured here is, from top-left: a Stickley mahogany end table; a Stickley mahogany bedroom set; a teak table manufactured in Thailand being sold by Scandanavian Design; a chair made of "Philippine mahogany" — Shorea spp. — at a Barnes & Noble store in 1995; a Stickley dresser; a Cuzco mahogany table; a Stickley mahogany dining table |
The US is the world’s largest furniture producing country. Close behind are Italy and recently, China’s furniture industry has been growing rapidly. Even many US companies that have been traditionally manufacturing in the US are now sourcing some or all of their furniture from or contract manufacturing in China. Imports from Malaysia and Indonesia are popular as well, with smaller amounts also coming from Thailand and Brazil.
Since the Brazilian government has curtailed much of the export of bigleaf (South American) mahogany, Peru now supplies the majority of bigleaf mahogany and many companies (Including giants like Ethan Allen and Henredon) have shifted much of their mahogany production to African mahogany. This is no better since logging in west Africa is driving the region's endangered wildlife to extinction as well as helping to wipe out the world’s second largest area of remaining primary rainforests.
Furniture made of wood from endangered forests should be avoided and the companies that are manufacturing with these woods should be boycotted.
Following is a very incomplete list of companies that use tropical woods to manufacture indoor furniture.
Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Inc.
Ethan Allen, Inc.
Furniture Brands International, Inc.
The Gibbard Furniture Shops, Ltd.
Hickory Chair Co.
Hickory-White Furniture Co.
Holt and Bugbee Co.
L. & J.G. Stickley, Inc.
Lifestyle Furnishings International
Thomasville Furniture Industries, Inc
Send a message to these companies at our Take Action page.
An excellent alternative to new rainforest wood furniture exists in just about every town in America — used furniture. To find used furniture consult the yellow pages for "Thrift Stores". Also check under "Furniture — Used" or "Office Furniture — Used".
Furniture from Recycled Materials
Celtic Viking Furniture Co.
Celtic Viking makes fine furniture from recycled elm timbers.
Car-Po Commercial Building
18-20 Lyndhurst Terrace
Central, Hong Kong
+852 2982 0396
Green Earth Office Supply
Green Earth carries a line of indoor furniture made from recycled bicycle parts.
59 N. Santa Cruz Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030
Toll free: 800/327-8449
Pacific Green Palmwood Furntiture
Pacific Green manufactures furniture made from ‘senile’ (spent) coconut palm trees harvested from plantations in Fiji. Rainforest Relief staff traveled to Fiji to assess the environmental aspects of the company, their harvesting, processing and finishing. We found that the company is extremely committed to producing a product that has as little negative environmental impact as possible. In fact, when we noticed a small amount of hardwood plywood use for which we couldn’t ascertain it specific origins, Pacific Green switched to pine plywood produced in plantations being grown on land that had long ago been cleared for cattle.
Pacific Green is continually working to lower their impact. A few years ago, they began binding their furniture parts with wire and leather, having come to see the glues they had been using as too toxic for the environment, the workers and the consumer.
Rainforest Relief has begun a process of formal certification of Pacific Green as Rainforest Safe™.
Pacific Green’s palmwood furniture is a beautiful alternative to mahogany or any other forest wood.
Pacific Green Industries Limited
Pacific Regional Office: 607 Gardens Road Mascot, PO Box 99 Mascot 1460, Sydney, Australia
Ph: (02) 9667 4700 Fax: (02) 9669 3403
Fiji Office: Pacific Green Industries (Fiji) Limited, Queens Rd, Sigatoka, Fiji
Ph: (679) 6500 055 Fax: (679) 6520 014
North America Showroom:
8675 Washington Boulevard
Culver City, CA 90232-7441
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 2822
Malibu, CA 90265
Domestic Second Growth Woods
Copyright 2005 Rainforest Relief