I recently heard that interior design students at university are being taught to avoid exotic woods when it comes to specifying their projects whether it is furniture or flooring. Not really surprising, but certainly doing a disservice to the student and future interior designer by reducing current and future design options unnecessarily while educating on a generally false premise.
I have long suspected that our use of exotic wood in the U.S. would hardly have an impact the health of the rain forests as some believe. Rarely does any exotic wood furniture get made by large production manufacturers, usually it is used by small shops or amateur woodworkers. I myself, use it infrequently. Most of my needs are met by the domestic lumbers. Though occasionally I will use an exotic veneer or a small inlay to get a desired effect.
Much of the deforestation of the rain forests can be attributed to other reasons such as overpopulation, farming, and industrial development. One study states...
(1) world trade in tropical forest products represent roughly 4 percent of tropical deforestation;
(2) the United States consumed less than 4 percent of all tropical timber traded globally; and
(3) the furniture industry consumes less than 30 percent of the volume of U .S. tropical timber imports.
...The U.S. furniture industry's consumption of tropical timber product accounts for less than 5 hundredths of one percent of tropical forest harvest. (from www.thefreelibrary.com.)
These numbers say a lot about the impact of furniture on the rain forests. Perhaps furniture is the only way some of us see a tropical wood being used that we associate it with the deforestation issues of these countries. We should all be good stewards of our environment while also being aware of the correct reasons for our environmental issues so we can address them properly.
Knowledge is power....