Natural, fast-growing rattan is enjoying a sort of renaissance in the design world. Unfortunately, conventional rattan harvesting practices tends to harm tropical forests where it grows. Enter WWF's Sustainable Rattan Project, an EU-funded program for sustainable production and processing of rattan in the Mekong region of Southeast Asia.
"Forests with such a wide variety of flora and fauna, which have disappeared in other regions of the world, still exist in the Mekong region," said Thibault LeDecq, the project manager.
WWF is working with graduates of Lund University in Sweden, along with local companies, to develop contemporary rattan products with international market potential. The products, created by designers like Per Brolund and Em Riem, range from a scrap rattan doormat to a nest-like lounge chair.