The Traveller’s Tree Marquetry Boxes

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Although we’re first and foremost a fair trade business – and therefore focused on enabling communities in developing countries to engage in dignified and sustainable employment – we love it when those ‘people’ ethics come together with environmental ethics too! These incredible marquetry boxes are an example of exactly that kind of joined up ethical thinking.

The Traveller’s Tree say:

Beautifully crafted from palisandre (a rosewood native to Madagascar), this fine woodwork is inlaid with indigenous hardwoods to create scenes from Malagasy village life along with a selection of our designs commissioned by ourselves. The colors are all natural; no stains, dyes or paint are used. The work is then finished with French Polish or beeswax.

We believe that creating a market for this work will give the Malagasy people an alternative to unsustainable agriculture and an incentive to protect what little is left of their magnificent forests (eighty percent of Madagascar’s unique forests have already been lost to slash-and-burn agriculture; vast tracts of land now lie barren and nearly sterile). This type of work requires small quantities of wood from numerous species of trees; the forest must be kept intact to sustain them. It also creates quality employment. Given this alternative, the Malagasy people may begin to view their forests as a valuable resource to be maintained rather than just an obstacle to planting.

If the remaining forests can be preserved they will continue to sustain some of the most unusual and diverse wildlife on earth.