If you've been wondering why Steller doesn't offer tropical wood species, look no further. It's my fault, and I take full credit. Before starting this journey with my husband, I earned my PhD in Ecology studying seed dispersal patterns. This meant that I had a love/hate (mostly love) relationship with seeds when Steller came to fruition. And what I learned about the conservation of plants through that experience has become a core value of our company.
Here are the reasons tropical wood varieties aren't on our menu.
1.) Tropicals come from Diverse Ecosystems
What this means is that a lot of animals, insects and plants depend on the existence of tropical trees to maintain their own existence. When American Hardwood Species are harvested, less of an impact on their ecosystem is made because the diversity level is lower (i.e. fewer critters overall). Additionally, the areas where North American trees are harvested from have often been cleared previously for lumber harvest and have been allowed to grow to full size. Tropicals grow more slowly than American Hardwoods, meaning their replacement will be much more difficult in the long run. On top of this, the regulation of Tropical harvesting in these regions often doesn't stop illicit deforestation from occurring for profit.
2.) Tropicals leave an Enormous Carbon Footprint
The Scientific American wrote an article describing the carbon emissions of Tropical deforestation, stating that, "...deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads." Add shipping to the United States to that, and we're talking about a HUGE environmental impact.
3.) We're on a Mission to Support North American Jobs
From the tree to our shop, we want to support jobs in local communities as often as we possibly can. This means that sourcing beautiful North American Hardwoods not only benefits the planet in multiple ways, but also benefits fellow Americans in our region.
So, if you're looking for tropical woods, you won't find them here. But we can offer to source or stain any of our North American hardwoods, or we can source "native exotics" like hickory and locust to meet your hardness needs. We can even provide extra hardness with high density polyurethanes to help your North American floor endure unusually high wear. And, we'll consult with you along the way to make sure that what you get is exactly what you want.
Here at Steller, it is our job to make sure that both your flooring and our tropical ecosystems can last for generations to come, and that you can feel great about your choice of flooring for your space and for our planet.