China is Turning the Rainforest into Cheap Furniture for the U.S.

China is rapidly and illegally gobbling up the world’s second largest rainforest, in Africa, to fuel America’s appetite for cheap furniture.

The second largest rainforest in the world — in Central Africa’s Congo Basin — is disappearing at an alarming rate, despite local laws against deforestation.

A new study out of the University of California names China and the United States as the primary culprits.

China more than doubled its wood imports from the Congo Basin between 2001 and 2015, the study found, and most of the cheap furniture it exported was headed for the United States.

U.S. consumers have long f, but little have we known the high price the global community has paid for it.

Recent reports of Brazil’s new president’s plans to open up the Amazon rain forest to agriculture and mining have the world worried about the effects of deforestation on global climate change.

The entire planet is dependent on these two major rainforests for sinking carbon dioxide and keeping global warming from spiraling out of control.

In addition to potential climate catastrophe, China’s illegal deforestation of the Congo Basin is robbing local Africans of resources vital to their survival.

And because Chinese loggers want only round logs (raw timber), they’re not even providing any local employment (via sawmilling or woodworking) to those whose land is being raped.

This ensures China maximizes profits while local countries stay poor.

A report by the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency found that state-owned Chinese companies play a major role in the illegal logging industry, a $30 billion dollar industry globally.

“More than half of China’s current supplies of raw timber material are sourced from countries with a high risk of illegal logging and poor forest governance,” the agency said.

Many developed nations – such as the U.S., Australia, and E.U. – are enacting laws to ban illegal timber imports.

For example, in 2013, the European Union introduced the E.U. Timber Regulation.  It requires ‘due diligence’ from importers to verify that timber being brought into E.U. markets isn’t illegally harvested.

This slowed timber exports from the Congo Basin to the E.U., but China was quick to exploit the void.

While some environmental groups focus on encouraging China to outlaw illegal logging imports, others say there needs to be more awareness in consumer nations, like the United States, about where their furniture comes from.

“When the world wants cheap furniture, China will get it for them, one way or another,” says the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers.





20 responses to “China is Turning the Rainforest into Cheap Furniture for the U.S.”

  1. Rita Belazariene Avatar
    Rita Belazariene

    So sad. Consumerism.

    1. Manon Levac Avatar
      Manon Levac

      Totally :'(

  2. Eddie Avatar

    All about the greed of both parties. Sadly china are very clever at waving the proverbial carrot with fantastically “easy” payment terms for huge loans that inevitably cannot be met when the time for payback comes!! So in lemur payment is settled upon in the form of timber, wild animal, diamonds to mention justca frw, and Africa slowly but surely is going ONE way. Africa on its present course is DOOMED….

  3. Jake Avatar

    How the hell is this land raped to be stopped?

  4. Karen Avatar

    China at it again. It will eventually stop when there are no more trees on the earth or fish in the sea. Overpopulating the planet along with India. We will all pay for their greed in the near future.

  5. Katheriine Floritto Avatar
    Katheriine Floritto

    This is terrible news and just as terrible for the culprits as for the victims of their greed.

    If the US and China will not agree to the cessation of such madness, then it’s up to the rest of the world to put a stop to it – that’s us.

    As an individual, I can do very little, other than to stop buying anything from either country.

    Obviously, it takes more than just this one person – every Canadian, every person in the world who sees this as a possible solution, must act accordingly. It’s silent, it helps business at home and it doesn’t kill anyone. imo..the best kind of Revolution.

    1. Annie Prefontaine Avatar
      Annie Prefontaine

      Totally agree!

  6. Oleg Avatar

    Сара,ловите + )
    Коммунистический режим Китая работает только на себя.Его не интересует традиционная культура человечества.Если в Китае по приказу коммунистической партии Китая людей насильно используют для извлечения органов для продажи,то о чём речь? Мы можем остановить преступления против человечности(тайный бизнес коммунистической партии Китая)” 8 минутный фильм
    Петиция здесь
    Falun Gong это Хорошо

  7. Mouno Bhaumik Avatar

    Many thanks for the report

  8. Kellie Sandberg Avatar
    Kellie Sandberg

    It would be helpful to know what stores are carrying this furniture so conscientious consumers could choose not to shop there…

  9. Ian Avatar

    Every politician loves to remind us to live within our means. Countries should do the same and utilise product of its own countries resources. it will never happen, greed and ambivalence will not allow it.

  10. Chloe Avatar

    How do we stop this and make the companies involved accountable? Consumers need to be aware but it’s the companies that need to be targeted because they’re profiting on destruction.

  11. Joel Enríquez Sánchez Avatar

    6a.extintion of the species/this happen that worse you think/stop and think differentt!!!

  12. Melanie Avatar


  13. Greg Graham Avatar
    Greg Graham

    Cheap furniture is needed to provide seating for all those extra backsides we’re adding to the planet each year, last year alone it was 83 million, and that’s AFTER you’ve deducted the number of people who died in the same year!

    When David Attenborough was born in 1926 the world’s human population was 2 billion. It’s now almost 4 times that. So it took all of human history for it to get to 2 billion in 1926… and just 92 years later it’s nearly 8 billion!

    Anyone with an IQ greater than their hat size can’t deny the link between forests and all the plants and animals that live in them being wiped out being as a direct result of the world’s exponentially growing human population. And if you think that’s OK I hope you don’t have kids as they certainly won’t be thanking you for your reckless indifference to their wellbeing into the future and the future of their children and so on! Oh, and you’re a total tool as well.

  14. Tevin Chidester Avatar

    thank you for reporting this problem. Please go to to participate in solving all of the extinction issue at one time.Save the world and give everyone abundance and security.

  15. Daniel O'Brien Avatar
    Daniel O’Brien

    Please stop all the people who are cutting down trees because we need to recover all the rainforests around the world including the one where you are to help keep tge wildlife safe. No cutting down trees allowed!

  16. Deborah McDearmon Avatar
    Deborah McDearmon

    So sad! It should be considered a crime!

  17. Jackie Avatar

    What are the brands using this wood? Call them out. Time to add accountability to these stories so consumers can take action.

  18. James Avatar

    In terms of the nature and the environment, China is simply cancer, nothing more, nothing less