Green Sahara Furniture visits the Moroccan cedar forests
Topic: Sustainable update
Green Sahara Furniture had the opportunity recently to visit some cedar forests in the Atlas mountain region of Morocco near Ifrane and Azrou. These magnificent trees provide beauty, shade, homes for monkeys and birds, and employment opportunities for the local population.
Along with a local sawmill operator and 5 Moroccan government officials from the Haut Commissariat aux Eaux et Forêts et à la Lutte la Désertification (in English in short we'll call them the Department of Forestry), we had the opportunity to see and learn how cedar forests are managed in Morocco. Clear cutting is not practiced here, and trees are cut using selective harvesting. First of all, the Department of Forestry closely monitors all cedar trees cut each year to make sure the forests are managed as well as possible for the future. Only trees that are dying or dead are allowed to be cut down to be used for lumber. The Department of Forestry first allocates plots of land with a certain number of trees on each plot that can be purchased by sawmills. Each dying or dead tree is marked and the cubic meters tallied. Next, local sawmills purchase one or more of these plots of land and wait until a specific date to harvest the trees. Once the trees have been felled, a group of inspectors from the Department of Forestry revisit the land to make sure each log is individually marked. It’s quite interesting to hear the thud of special marking axes hitting the ends of logs all over the forest. The axes leave a special “GDM” insignia on each log indicating it is cleared to be removed from the forest legally.
Any person taking logs from the forest without these markings can be heavily fined to discourage illegal felling of trees. After each log is marked, the inspectors make sure they have the correct tally from the felled trees. The sawmill operators are then given the green light to bring the marked logs from the forest to the local sawmill to begin processing them into beautiful Moroccan cedar lumber. Many of Morocco’s cedar forests are full and beautiful. Still other forests are thin and dying due to many factors including bugs, a lack of rain, sheep grazing on low-lying vegetation, low-branch cutting by shepherds and firewood gatherers, and desertification. It’s our hope at Green Sahara Furniture to work with other organizations in Morocco to ensure that the Moroccan cedar is enjoyed and used by many future generations – to someday see an abundance of “green” return to the dying parts of the Atlas forests and continue towards the Sahara. When used responsibly, we believe forests can provide a holistic blend of beauty, solace, shade, shelter, soil control, oxygen production, medicine, income, food, fuel, and lumber.
Be sure to check out Green Sahara Furniture’s Atlas collection, a name chosen for this mountainous region of Morocco. The signature of the Atlas collection is the slab top we use for each piece. Slab table tops are a great way to show off a unique piece of wood and can be used for a coffee table, a dining table, an island, and many other applications.
The natural, wavy sides of slab tops make each piece truly one-of-a-kind. Plus, when you use a slab top on a project you get the “whole tree”, including parts that are normally cut off and discarded – knots, holes, and cracks are all part of the character of the piece, giving it a story of its own. Please contact Green Sahara Furniture if you are interested in having a custom Atlas table made. We can work with you to ensure the size, color, and character of the top is what you’re looking for.
Posted by d.bult
at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 22 July 2008 9:12 AM EDT