A little statement about exotic woods…
I love using exotic woods in my turnings, woods from Africa and Asia and South America—these woods have colors and grain patterns that are just stunning, and so different from our domestic woods. But I have also long been concerned about the environmental impact of the harvest of exotics, and whenever possible, I buy sustainable, plantation-raised woods.
I was very happy to see that one of my wood suppliers recently addressed the question of exotics:
Q: Wouldn't it be better for the environment if we all stopped buying exotic woods?
A: In a perfect world yes, in the real world no.
If you and I stopped buying exotic woods, they would become no more valuable than any other tree. Generally that means uses like firewood, or just complete devastation through slash and burn agriculture would be more lucrative for the locals. Teaching locals that trees have monetary value (only because you and I buy them) helps them become conservationists, or at a minimum keeps certain trees on an international watch list which can block export of certain species to try to prevent wholesale destruction. This is probably the only reason certain trees such as Brazilian Rosewood are not extinct today. Without a financial value, there is little or no motivation to protect trees. If you are concerned about the environment (as we are), we invite you to plant a tree where you live, and are able to watch over it. Or give to organizations such as the African Blackwood Conservation Project, which plants trees back in the native habitat.
Ravenwood Inspired donates to the African Blackwood Conservation Project and to the Arbor Day Foundation.
For more information about various species of woods, visit Wood Database.