“Agro-forestry is an integrated approach of using the interactive benefits from combining trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock. It combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy and sustainable land-use systems.” -USDA National Agroforestry Center
Our goal is to create a hardwood product that not only takes advantage of wood as a renewable resource, but encourages sustainable forestry practices. In keeping with good forestry practices, plantations of high quality hardwoods need to be thinned in order for trees to continue growing and receiving sunlight. These younger trees, or thinnings, generally have marginal value because the dimensions are too small for uses such as flooring or large furniture pieces. Our Bentwood chairs however utilize the smaller, greener trees. Using the wood in this manner provides the plantation owner with an incentive to maintain a healthy forest.
Izabal Agroforest in the Rio Dulce region of Guatemala is a great example of these practices. By combining native crops like cocoa and vanilla with their plantations of native wood species such as rosewood, palo blanco, mahogany, santa maria, and teak, they have created a farm that is indistinguishable from the jungle surrounding it. Whereas in most tree farms, where logging contributes to habitat destruction, water pollution, and displacement of indigenous peoples, their farm creates habitat, promotes native species of flora, and provides opportunity for indigenous farmers.