“The signature fluidity and smooth texture invite the touch, and the body moulds itself into the various shapes.” mvr.

THE WOOD

 

PROMOTING THE CONSERVATION OF INDIGENOUS HARDWOODS

 

The African continent contains a significant proportion of the Earth’s biosphere. Historic, economic and demographic changes, together with increasing global interdependence, have contributed to the acute level of stress placed on its environment. International cooperation is essential if this pressure is to be alleviated.

 

As a consumer of African hardwoods, Rampel Designs is in favour of a ban on the export of raw wood between continents. We feel that the developing nations of the world should once again be responsible for the conservation and utilization of their natural heritage, and reap all the benefits of it. It is vital that countries develop their own industries and use their own raw materials to produce high quality, value-added goods for export.

 

The reasoning behind an export ban on raw wood is as follows:

 

  • The majority of the wood harvested in the Third World is for export. The banning of the export of raw hardwoods to the industrialised world would ensure a vast drop in demand and, as such, would result in the decline of deforestation.

  • In response to being cut off from a supply of tropical hardwoods, industrialised nations would either have to find alternative products or embark on a program of reforestation in their own countries.

  • Following an intercontinental ban, developing nations would initially face a significant drop in export earnings. The financial consequences of this would have to be met by the industrialised nations through a program of constructive support – for example, in the management of sustainably utilized forests.

  • A monopoly on the supply of hardwood products that an export ban would give to the developing world would ensure the vigorous growth of an indigenous furniture industry, which would in turn encourage foreign investment.

  • However, the establishment of a thriving furniture industry would again bring pressure to bear on the very forests that the export ban sought to protect. International legislation should, therefore, be put in place to ensure that a substantial part of the anticipated revenues be used to finance the establishment and maintenance of a sound forestry management structure.

 

A thing of beauty should be a joy forever, for everyone. Rampel Designs’ furniture, made from local woods by skilled African craftsmen, should make us anxious that this source of beauty, the forest, is conserved and sustainably utilized for future generations.

 

Marc Van Rampelberg, Nairobi, October 1992

 

CATALOGUE OF TIMBERS

 

Mninga:

Pterocarpus Angolensis/Leguminosae

Origin: Tanzania

 

Mahogany:

Knaya grandifoliola and K. Senagalansis/Meliaceae

Origin: Uganda and DR Congo

 

Mvule:

Chlorophora excels/Moraceae

Origin: Uganda and DR Congo

 

Elgon Olive:

Olea hochstetteri/Oleaceae

Origin: Kenya and Uganda.

 

Palm:

Borassus Aethiopum mart. /Palmae

Origin: Kenya and Tanzania

 

Mpingo (African Blackwood or Ebony)

Dalbergia melanoxylon/Papilionaceae.

Origin: Kenya and Tanzania

 

Cedar:

Juniperus procera/Cupressaceae

Origin: Kenya.