Bolivian Nature woodcrafts
Bolivian Nature woodcrafts come from trees harvested from legally managed forests. Most of our wood comes from the Alta Vista Tropical Dry Forest Study Center. The property belongs to the Chiquitano Forest Conservation Foundation (FCBC), where we practise research and development to find innovative ways for forestry, livestock and honey production. The 3,360 hectares property is located 15 km to the east of Concepción, Department of Santa Cruz, amid one of the most diverse and unique tropical dry forests in the world: the Chiquitano Dry Forest, which extends mainly in eastern Bolivia.
The purpose of Bolivian Nature and Alta Vista is to demonstrate the value of forests from a new perspective of low impact, sustainable and long-term forest management. We explore forms of integral tree transformation, showing the intrinsic value of a growing variety of species, to promote their care and good use. The training of craftsmen in creative turning, and in the production of pieces cut and transformed into special furniture is of great importance. This new vision can sustainably improve forest management, and it is our hope to achieve attitude changes in forest managers and communities to bring in turn substantial improvement to their livelihoods. We promote an integrated management style, trying to achieve sustainable production and biodiversity conservation.
Wood species we work with
We work with Bolivian Rosewood (Machaerium scleroxylon) and its sister species Tipa Wood (Machaerium angustifolium), both with trees that frequently reach 100 years of age. We also work with Canarywood (Centrolobium microchaete) and Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril), besides several other species of the tropical dry forest.
From the tree to the woodcraft
Once a selected tree has been cut, the logs are stored in the shade to avoid rotting, checking and splitting. They are protected with paraffin to avoid deterioration due to rapid dehydration. Put to the lathe, the turning blanks are evaluated and turned by craftsmen with great artistic skills, trained and experienced in artistic designs. The creation of each piece is a challenge but at the same time a delight, since in the turning process they try to show best the exquisite designs formed by growth rings. These rings result from decades under the cycles of dry and rainy seasons.
Lesser Waste – Better Income
We try to take advantage of all the parts of each tree, from the main stem to the branches, giving them the highest added value we can obtain. Oftentimes, the most interesting art pieces are produced from old trees with some natural damage. Many of our best art pieces come from blanks considered useless for the wood industry because their unevenness or small diameters and complex twisting. In fact, after careful scientific research we have found that these blanks, coming from stumps, crotches and branches, may add up to 60% of the total timber of each tree. With this meticulous way of forest use it is possible to multiply in a surprising way the economic benefit obtained, not needing to cut too many trees, and thus promoting a lower felling and greater conservation of forest resources.
Taking Care of the Forest
At Alta Vista we promote the ability of forests to regenerate naturally while they are properly managed and protected from illegal extraction. Through 35-year cutting cycles and very selective extraction methods, we try to ensure the productive potential and permanence of the species for the long term. We honor the privilege of working with this natural inheritance of long-lived and valuable trees, which are currently a heritage almost exclusively of Bolivia, since several species have almost disappeared from neighboring countries.
Your Contribution to Tropical Dry Forests
By buying these crafts you will be helping to maintain Alta Vista’s natural forests with its biodiversity of plants and animals. Being Alta Vista a demonstration center, you will be helping other forest managers to see, learn and adopt similar innovative techniques to achieve that much-needed forest value recognition in their private and communal properties. This is the time to bring in better integrated management for tropical forests, being this a safe way to attain solidarity in the caring of the planet, our home and responsibility in the long term.