Knock on Wood: Sustainable Hardwood for Your Natural Home

Check out these options for bringing hardwood inside your home.

| January/February 2005

  • The Tropical Salvage Company made this end table from reclaimed and salvaged tropical hardwoods.
    Photo by Liz Salaba, Fair World Gallery
  • The Tropical Salvage Company made this end table from reclaimed and salvaged tropical hardwoods.

The exotic beauty and extreme durability of tropical hardwoods is tempting, but choosing products without sustainability certification contributes to illegal harvesting, endangerment of species, and irreparable damage to old-growth rainforests. Loggers punch roads through pristine tropical forests and routinely destroy up to twenty-eight trees for every targeted hardwood. Insist on wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which is supported by environmental groups worldwide.


Place of origin: Bolivia, Brazil
Used for: Decks, flooring, benches, railing
Good choice or not? No. Contributes to deforestation of old-growth forest. Mostly logged from Brazil.
Alternatives: FSC-certified maple from managed forests


Place of origin: Latin and South America, Caribbean, Africa
Used for: Fine furniture, patio furniture, cabinetry
Good choice or not? No. Some species are endangered. Contributes to deforestation, including wholesale stripping of Amazonian rainforests. Peru continues to export illegal mahogany.
Alternatives: FSC-certified fir from managed forests




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