Curio Studio: Tom Wilson FOREST DWELLERS

The tropical forests of Africa are home to some of the planet’s most extraordinary animals.  Gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants and bongos are all facing an uncertain future, with habitat loss being among their greatest threats. The world’s forests are being cleared at a rate ten times faster than the most optimistic regrowth could allow (source: WWF).  These four Forest Dwellers, each made from tropical African timber,  have been conceived to ask questions about the role of forestry in protecting, or destroying, natural habitats.  


Can we regrow our forests to limit the impact of climate change and help to reverse biodiversity loss? Is it possible to sustainably harvest timber and natural products, contributing to ethical and sustainable economies, as well as safeguarding habitats, biodiversity, and the health of the Earth? 
The future survival of these creatures, and countless others, is inextricably linked to the survival of their forests.

Timber Supply

All timber for the Timber Trade Federations Conversation’s about Climate Change timber exhibition is sourced through TTF Members in line with the TTF Responsible Purchasing Policy. This is a risk management framework for the continuous improvement of TTF Members’ awareness of their obligations as a timber trader / operator – monitored through a streamlined reporting, data collection and annual audit process, enabling robust analysis. More information on the RPP can be found here


Tom’s ‘Forest Dwellers’ incapsulate a conversation around timber sourcing and the correlation of deforestation to a biodiversity loss. His design appeals to our inner consensus through these adorable animal creations. Connecting Tom with INTERHOLCO, interconnected with TTF member Danzer seemed like a perfect match. More on Tom’s intended CONVERSATION can be found here in a Q&A


Forests managed for both production and biodiversity keep the forests standing. The African hardwood species selected for this project are sourced from the Republic of Congo, where INTERHOLCO harvests and transforms wood with high sustainability standards in a forest 11,600m2, a biodiverse habitat home to thousands of elephants, gorillas and countless other species. It also has lower rates of bushmeat hunting, TB and other diseases. INTERHOLCO selective harvesting practice: 1 tree, every 2 ha (2 football pitches) only once every 30 years. Sustainability is the outcome, as the local population benefits from INTERHOLCO giving value to the forest.


More information of INTERHOLCO can be found here, and more on their sustainability contributions and reports here


Species provided from the Republic of Congo and Cameroon

  • Sapele – Entandrophragma cylindricum
  • Utile – Entandrophragma utile
  • Iroko – Chlorophora excelsa (Milicia excelsa)


Both the ROC and Cameroon are in the implementing stage of their Voluntary Partnership Agreement’s. More information on both can be found on Voluntary Partnership Agreements and each countries progress / status


Gorillas are native to the tropical and subtropical forests of sub-Saharan Africa. These are the largest of all primates are critically endangered.


The gorilla is made from Sapele with a contrasting face and chest.


Sapele is a rich reddish brown dense African timber that can be sanded to a very smooth and tactile finish.


Chimpanzees are native to the savannah and forests of tropical Africa.


They are now endangered with habitat loss being among the most significant factors.  


The chimpanzee is made from Iroko with a contrasting face and chest in Utile, both of which are native to African forests.


The Iroko varies from warm yellow to darker chocolate brown, often with irregular and swirling grain.


The Forest elephant is perhaps the lesser know species of African elephant.


They live in the humid forests of western Africa but populations are in decline due to habitat loss, as well as poaching.


The elephant is made from Utile with contrasting tusks.


Utile is a pinkish brown African timber with regular tight grain.


The Bongo is forest dwelling antelope found in West and Central Africa.


Forest populations are now in decline due to habitat loss, while mountain dwelling Bongos are classified as critically endangered.


The bongo is made from dark red Sapele which is a good match for their rich chestnut coats, with inlaid contrasting stripes and antlers from utile.