You are here

The Depths of Deforestation

Forests are crucial, and we must prioritize them. They provide vital habitats for thousands of species, livelihood for people, and natural filtration for our air. Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change, second only to the burning of fossil fuels. Cutting down our forests without considering or preparing for the repercussions only makes our earth less inhabitable.

Over the last century, the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Too much carbon dioxide in the air creates a greenhouse effect and our ecosystems suffer. Similarly, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities have increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. With fewer trees to remove the carbon dioxide from the air and soil that lacks the same level of richness, it’s no wonder our earth is warming.

Currently, the building sector (the lumber industry) is the largest forest market. Followed closely by paper, these two industries are responsible for a great deal of the deforestation around the world. Trailing a little behind them is the furniture industry. Although the furniture industry adds the most value to the wood it harvests, manufacturers still have an enormous responsibility to harvest sustainably. If we’re smart, we can leverage sustainability and actually play a part in halting deforestation.

There’s no doubt that some of our most beautiful furnishings come from wood. Nothing compares to natural grains and undeniably solid construction. We encourage you not to settle. You can have beautiful wood furnishings AND protect the planet, simply by asking a few important questions before you buy wood furniture.  

It’s important to ask where your wood is coming from, how the furniture company got it, and what they do to protect earth’s resources. Learn about each company’s wood sourcing policy and try to find furniture made from certified wood.  Please see our Quick Guide to Buying Green. There, you’ll find good questions to ask when buying furniture -- and the answers you’ll want to hear!  

You can also take a look at our Member List to see if a company you’re interested in is registered as a sustainable furnisher.  The Wood Furniture Scorecard is another great place to check.  Companies that harvest their wood responsibly, whether from well-established tree farms, strict forest management, or organizations that recycle and reclaim wood, are doing their part to maintain the health of our landscapes and quality of our air!

The Sustainable Furnishings Council is dedicated to educating consumers so they can make smart purchases, and to providing valuable resources to industry members, so they can drive real environmental change.

Older blog posts.