Rattan Furniture Origin and Information:
Rattan is among
the oldest natural furniture material in use today. Unlike
bamboo, which is hollow, rattan is a solid timber vine that
grows in the Philippines.
Rattans are climbing palms that provide the raw
material for the cane-furniture industry. Rattans have long and
very flexible stems that need support. In favorable conditions
some species will grow to very great lengths. Rattan gatherers
need to pull the canes down from the forest canopy and remove
the spiny sheaths, leaves and whips. This leaves the bare cane
of commerce. Rattan-harvesting is thus a rather dangerous
business - dead branches can be dislodged as the rattan is
pulled and ants and wasps can often be disturbed in the process.
Locally rattans are used for a very wide range of purposes, the
most important being in the manufacture of baskets and mats.
Undoubtedly rattan remains the most important source of material
for making baskets and mats in the Philippine regions; however,
as the wild resource becomes scarce, other materials such as
split bamboo are used as substitutes.
Now some producing countries have introduced export tariffs or
export bans for raw cane to encourage the manufacture of rattan
furniture within the producing countries, thereby adding value
to the exported product, and also helping to conserve stocks of
wild rattan. However, these bans have also put extreme pressure
on stocks of rattans in countries where cane export is not
controlled, resulting in severe over-exploitation and even
disappearance of the wild resource.
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