This line of high-end home and garden furniture called Reforest Teak is produced in Central America with tectona grandis wood coming from FSC certified reforestation projects by New World Eco Trees in Costa Rica. The collection was launched in March and includes chairs, benches, tables, planters and decking & flooring resources. It can be purchased online at ReforestTeak.com, via Gardener's Supply Co, or at VT retail stores (the bench shown above and the chair and tables in the extended are from the very cool Spirit Song Collection, with prices starting at 675 US dollars). New World Eco Trees was established in 2006 by Will Raap, Founder and Chairman of Gardener's Supply and Intervale Center, and its goal is to steward multi species reforestation work on lands previously degraded by the cattle industry in Costa Rica and soon Nicaragua. Its reforesting operations are located in Surubres de Parrita, Puntarenas Province, and the central Pacific coast between Carara and Manuel Antonio National Parks; and are also destined to carbon offsetting and carbon sequestration programs.
Raap, born in America, turned to Costa Rica surely motivated for his wife's roots "My wife's family is from Costa Rica, though she grew up mainly in Connecticut", explains the entrepreneur. "That country, while perhaps the most green developing and with more species biodiversity per acre than any other on earth, still had its dry tropical forests decimated by cattle pastures in America's hunger for cheap Mc-burgers over the past 70 years. As the cattle industry moves elsewhere, eco-reforestation holds powerful promise for restoring these lands", he says.
According to the company's website, the first pastures to become part of reforestation efforts were purchased in 1992. Planting began with more than 70 varieties of trees, including a number of endangered native species such as mahogany, purple heart, and cocobolo rosewood. In 2007 they'll be driving a large scale multi-species reforestation in Nicaragua, where they project to plant 500,000 trees on 1,000. "We have done the forestry study in northwest of Lake Nicaragua, and are acquiring land there to begin the reforestation project with (partners) Diamond Teak this year", Raap comments.
New World Eco Trees also claims to have fair work conditions: they employ one hundred people fulltime with above market wages, social security benefits and a pension plan designed with special consideration to women's benefits, the site informs.
Will Raap's background includes -among others- sustainable community development consulting in California in the late 70s, the launch of Gardener's Supply as 'the environmental gardening company' 25 years ago, the launch of Living Technologies wastewater treatment business, Seventh Generation environmental products business, and the development of an enterprise in the US (www.intervale.org), and two non-profits in Costa Rica (one aimed at permaculture training, called El Centro Verde; and the other at watershed restoration, called Greening Paraiso).
Now he's working on a new venture sort of related to carbon ofsetting: Earth Partners. "With an alliance of environmental NGOs, universities and private businesses, we're developing the capacity to significantly accelerate funding from markets supporting 'Payments for Ecological Services', including carbon credits, wetlands banking, biodiversity banking, etc, and to direct that funding to the best ecosystem restoration projects as determined by solid science", he explains.
Certified teak chair from the Spirit Song Collection.
Certified teak table from the same collection.