Sadly, whenever there is a valuable natural resource available, there are those who often try to exploit the resource for their own gain. One of the easier resources to deplete from an environment is wood. Some of the forests which have been attacked by poachers in the past are the teak forests in Indonesia and the Redwood forest in northern California. So serious is the damage in these forests that governments have become involved in regulating trade or stepping up security.
Both teak and Redwood are long-growing trees (although Redwoods live far longer than teak) and produce a high quality wood. Both are considered to be premium hardwoods and both make exquisite furniture and home accent pieces. One of the reasons that these woods bring such a premium price is their relative rarity and the length of time to harvest quality wood.
The attack on the Redwood trees of California is unique in that since Redwoods are such gigantic trees, poachers cannot take the trees themselves. Instead, they are harvesting a portion of the tree which is critical for the tree to reproduce, a bulge which grows on the trunk, called a burl. When the burl is removed from the tree, the inner heartwood is exposed, making the tree more prone to disease and insects and shortening its life.
Furniture made from the burl of a Redwood tree features a unique grain and is quite beautiful. Not all Redwood burl furniture comes from poaching. There are many furniture manufacturers creating burl furniture from wood that is harvested at the end of a tree’s life.
Teak is the other wood which can come from disreputable sources. Because of improper harvesting, the government of Indonesia now regulates teak exportation by monitoring teak plantations, inspecting and requiring proper replanting and limiting the export of teak to the rest of the world.
When buyers are looking for the best premium wooden furniture made from teak or Redwood, it is important to know the market and be able to spot a “too good to be true” deal. Reputable dealers in Redwood or teak furniture should be able to tell you where the wood was grown and harvested. Not being able to do can signal wood which was obtained on the black market.
When you are buying redwood tables or teak benches, it is important to know that your wood was harvested responsibly to protect these natural resources.