If you want to buy furnitures made out of teak, you must consider one thing: The danger that teak timber comes from illegal felling and trade is enormous.
According to the World Bank, cutting in the rain forest happens to a substantial degree illegally. In Indonesia and Papua-Neuguinea 70% of the felling is considered to be illegal, in Peru and Bolivia approximately 80% and in Cambodia even 90%.
The damage to the environment by legal and illegal felling are enormous. The destruction of the forests affects the biodiversity by not only endangering tree species, but also animal and plant species. Gorilla, orang-utan and sumatra rhinoceros are only three of the known species that are endangered. Insects, reptiles, birds and further mammals must be added to this list.
Moreover, soil fertility is disordered by the felling, the water balance of some regions - yes, of whole continets - is affected, and the biotopes of a lot of wild animals are destroyed.
Furthermore, the living space of a lot of people, who live in the forests, is getting lost and forces those people into poverty and existencial fear and often to the slums of the big cities.
The illegal felling and trade not only damage the ecosystem forest, but, moreover, it affects the economy. For instance, Indonesia annually loses one billion US dollars in taxpayers money. Money, which is missing for the developement of the country, for the struggle against poverty and for education.
Every year, goods amounting to 10 to 15 billion US dollars are traded, coming from illegal felling.
The most valuable teak-timbers come from Burma and are thus called Burma-teak. The Burman military dictatorship is plundering domestic forests to get the premium teak, in order to keep the ailing system afloat by selling timbers. The one who buys or offers Burma-teak is supporting a terroristic regime, which is using repression and forced labor to oppress its own citizens and which does not shrink from using violence against peacefully demonstrating nuns and monks, as it happened in autumn 2007.
Often, teak is labelled as plantation teak, which is said to be environment-friendly, as it is supposed to preserve the forest. This teak mostly comes from indonesian plantations and is by no means environment-friendly and sustainable, since the plantations were layed out on formerly intact rain forest areas of which the local population was expelled. Any biodiversity in the plantations has disappeared.
Additional information about teak plantations and the illegal trade can be found under about teak. Über Teak.
Further information about the causes and consequences of the rain forest depletion und ways to counteract it, can be found on the homepage www.raubbau.info