According to the Brazilian governmentŐs own figures, approximately 80% of the logging in the Brazilian Amazon is illegal. The majority of this illegal wood is imported into the United States. 40% of the South American mahogany imported from Brazil is consumed by US Furniture Makers. Companies such as Ethan Allen buy from importers, sourcing from companies known to be involved in the illegal timber trade. Ethan Allen sells this mahogany furniture for hundreds if not thousands of dollars a piece profiting from the destruction of rainforests and the extinction of hundreds of species of wildlife.
In October 2000, Greenpeace released a report identifiying dozens of US companies that have bought Amazon mahogany from companies known to be involved in the illegal trade in 2000 and 2001. This report led to a recent announcement by Brazil that it is suspending virtually all mahogany logging. Only two operations remain, both of which are in the process of becoming certified as well-managed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Consumers have the right to know that Ethan Allen has bought timber imported from companies that are involved in the illegal timber trade.
Rainforest Relief will soon begin an educational campaign in Portland collecting signatures from Ethan Allen customers demanding that Ethan Allen buy their wood from operations that are well-managed (FSC certified).
"When Ethan Allen sells mahogany, they are fueling illegal logging and the destruction of rainforests around the world," said a spokeswoman from the group.
Indigenous people have been murdered by mahogany loggers -- the loggers send gun crews ahead of the logging crews in order to "pacify" indigenous resistance. At least eight indigenous groups have had members killed by loggers. But beatings and intimidation are commonplace.
"In Brazil, environmentalists have been murdered for blowing the whistle on illegal logging operations. ItŐs demand from companies like Ethan Allen that drives the black market for illegal wood," continued the spokeswoman.
Finished furniture from a single log can fetch up to a quarter of a million dollars on the international market. The money made from selling mahogany and other illegally logged timber pays for the bulldozing of new logging roads. The new roads lead to further devastation by providing access to the rainforest for clearing for cattle ranches, plantations, over-hunting, fuel wood gathering and mining.
Officially, between August 1999 and August 2000 alone, nearly 20,000 square kilometers of the Amazon was deforested, the equivalent of four million soccer fields. According to a recent study, however, these figures would double if they included forest degradation due to predatory logging of high-value trees like mahogany.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Rainforest Relief (RR) in Portland is currently organizing around Ethan AllenŐs continued sale of illegally logged mahogany. RR is looking for volunteers to help with publicity, make props, banners, signs, and help collect signatures at our local Ethan Allen Furniture Stores. If you can help, or are interested in learning more, please contact email@example.com