Beautiful North Norfolk

Beautiful North Norfolk

There’s so much to see and do in North Norfolk, from beautiful historic architecture to unique local shops and an excellent community for creative designers and makers. There’s something for everyone, whether you are looking for a seaside escape or a new local market town. There’s so much to love here that I thought I would share some of my favourite North Norfolk spots with you… Continue reading

The Effects of Deforestation on Communities and Planet

Deforestation and helping our environment

Palm oil production is big business. You would be hard pushed to find a household that doesn’t have products containing palm oil. It’s a low-cost resource that can be used in almost everything making it highly sought after by manufacturers globally. The palm trees that bear this valuable oil are found in tropical climates, such as the Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests and other tropical environments. However, to meet the high demand, vast areas of rainforests are being cleared with purpose-made fires to make way for palm oil plantations. These plantations are the leading cause of rainforest deforestation, with the equivalent of 300 football pitches being cleared to make way for tree planting every hour. This has many adverse effects on the climate, environment, biodiversity and the communities living within the forests. The Indonesian rainforest has arguably the richest biodiversity on earth. It is home to numerous plants and wildlife — many of which are on the endangered species list, including orangutans, Sumatran tigers and Bornean rhinos. The destruction of natural habitats deprives the animals of the basis for their existence, causing an irreversible loss of biological diversity. Sadly, many communities living within these forests are losing their homes and livelihoods to palm oil plantations which, in turn, is destroying their traditional way of life. In some cases, these residents are often not even informed that their land is about to become a plantation. It’s been documented that if these people resist the changes to their environment, they are displaced by force. It’s an inhumane way to do business. It’s clear that palm oil production is not sustainable if our rainforests are to survive for future generations to benefit from them. So, we hope you agree with us at the Steam Studio; we must all act now and do our bit to protect the rainforests from further deforestation and destruction.


Are Big Brands Doing Their Bit to Help Sustainable Palm Oil Production?

As we mentioned earlier, palm oil is such an integral ingredient in everything we buy, from the food we eat to the cosmetics we use and the fuel we put in our vehicles. We would be hard pushed to eliminate it from our lives completely. Yet, with all these reasons to stop unsustainable deforestation, what are big brands doing in the fight to help save our rainforests? Some brands like Iceland have pledged not to use palm oil in any of their own products. Others, such as M&S and Waitrose have promised they will only sell products containing palm oils from responsibly sourced plantations (RSPO certified). It’s not just supermarkets either. Some manufacturers, including Ryvita, Walbertons and Walkers, are also proudly palm oil-free. The palm oil used in their products comes from independently audited plants that have passed a series of stringent checks to ensure no illegal or environmentally damaging logging is taking place. They have fair policies to work with communities and to protect local habits. However, there is a long way to go in the fight against illegal and destructive palm oil production. We believe that making sure we, as consumers, only buy products where the ingredients have been sustainably sourced is the first step to saving the rainforests and protecting our planet.

The Perils of Palm Oil

The Perils of Palm Oil

Palm oil and its production have been a source of controversy for many years. It is present in about 50% of the products we buy as consumers every day. Continue reading

Deforestation and helping our environment

The Sobering Effects of Deforestation on Communities and Our Planet

Deforestation: globally

Despite the global focus on slowing the effects of climate change, trees – the habitats to many and air supply to all – are still facing mass destruction. National Geographic report that an incredible 1.3million square kilometres was lost between 1990 and 2016 alone, and around 17% of the Amazonian rainforest has been wiped out with trees being felled every day. Since humans first evolved, we have destroyed 50% of the world’s trees. Forests are cleared for grazing livestock, urbanisation, producing palm oil and logging. Natural wildfires excuse humans from being sole respondents of deforestation but, unlike humans, fires eventually replenish forests with nutrients and growth.

Reducing deforestation effects locally

As a small business revolving around timber, we not only recognise the important of being sustainable, but we value our responsibility to the environment. With the world on our mind, Steamed Studio work to a ‘less is more’ ethos. In our humble workshop you will only find us making what we need. This helps us cut down on waste material. Unlike mass manufacturing sites, we do not have long production lines and stacks of timber. Here are some other ways Steamed Studio is doing our bit:

It is essential that we all do our bit in the fight against the effects of deforestation on our planet. In our bid to support the fight against deforestation, we are committed to raise awareness of the impact of deforestation on the environment, and we will continue to share and post important to our website.

Deciduous Decimation: What’s Destroying Our Woodlands?

Deciduous Decimation Whats Destroying Our Woodlands
Wooden furniture has been a mainstay within the UK for centuries. From stylish kitchen units to hand-bent mirror frames, we use wood in a variety of ways. We certainly couldn’t live without it at Steamed Studio. Besides our uses for wood, trees themselves have always played a huge part in our lives. Not only do they provide us with oxygen, but they’re also present in folklore around the world: the Vikings had an ash tree as the tree of life, the traditional Yule log in England was cut from oak, and the branches of elm trees were said by the Celts to house elves. However, the UK’s woodland is under threat, including the trees that are most often used for manufacturing purposes: ash, oak, and elm. We currently only use ash but are considering adding oak into the mix. So what are the main hazards threatening these three mainstays of British woodworking?

Ash trees: the Emerald Ash Borer

Ash trees are increasingly at risk within the UK. Not only are they having to fight back against Ash Dieback, but there’s another threat on the horizon: the Emerald Ash Borer. As the name suggests, this vibrant beetle burrows out of ash trees. The females of the species lay their eggs in crevices between the bark or on leaves, and, once hatched, the larvae gorge on the trees’ internal system for transporting water and nutrients. As adults, the pests bore their way out through the bark, and fly off to lay eggs and start the cycle again. After housing multiple generations of beetles, the ash trees can no longer survive. Signs to look out for include almost bullet-like holes in the bark – a sign that the tree may be at war with pests. But you might not see these marks around the UK just yet: as far as we know, the Emerald Ash Borer hasn’t taken root so far in the UK. For now, it is found in Asia, Russia, the US and Canada – but it’s spreading fast. Combined with the effects of Ash Dieback, its arrival may mean the local extinction of some ash populations altogether. The Woodland Trust has been lobbying the UK government to improve biosecurity at border points to ensure that infected wood doesn’t slip through. If it does arrive here, it’s important to know the signs and be ready to report them so that authorities can manage outbreaks before they spread.

Oak trees: climate change

Oak trees are symbolic of strength and wisdom. They’re so popular worldwide that they even feature on a few national flags! And yet in the UK, we have seen a period of acute oak decline over the past twenty years. More than anything, oak trees are affected by a rapidly changing climate. Both droughts and floods can cause them stress, and, once weakened, bugs and diseases can easily take root. This is especially prevalent when foreign insects have been introduced into local woodlands, as the trees have no natural defences. Signs of this stress are often visible: oak trees are likely to thin out around the top over a couple of years, or – rather dramatically – start “bleeding” a black liquid. Both are the tree’s natural defences, and oak trees can recover from this state when the climate regulates. However, if the period of stress is particularly long or severe, the tree might not have enough energy stores left to survive the winter or fight off bugs – and if disease sets in, they can die within just a few years.

Elm trees: Dutch elm disease

Elm trees are popular in folklore around the world: in Celtic mythology, for example, they’re thought of as markers of passageways into Faerie and the Underworld. They also often symbolize the cycle of life and death. It is perhaps ironic, then, that they are so under threat in the modern world. Probably the most pervasive danger to elms at the moment is Dutch elm disease. Named for the researchers who studied it back in the 20s, this disease – or, more accurately, fungus – is thought to have originated in Asia. It’s spread via the elm bark beetle, which breeds in the cracks of diseased or dying elm trees. The young then seek out healthy elm trees in which to feed – inadvertently spreading this fungus. Signs of Dutch elm disease include clusters of wilted, yellow leaves; twigs that bend downwards; and black streaks under the bark of new branches. Dutch elm disease is found almost all over the UK – only the far north has so far eluded it. One of the preventative measures taken is the felling of diseased trees to reduce the number of breeding options for the elm bark beetles – so if you see any trees with signs of disease, tell your local woodland authority as soon as you can. It’s so important to protect our local woodlands – they’re a part of our history, our industry, and our mythology. With a clear awareness of the threats and their signs, we can help to prevent the forests’ extinction – and keep the country as green as it always has been.