SAVE THE FORESTS

Here's a New Year's resolution for you: Help protect the rain forests. What can you do? Shop smart. Buy products that encourage wise use of the natural resources and help the indigenous peoples of the rain forests. ``By supporting companies that produce products containing sustainably harvested rain forest ingredients, you're helping to protect rain forest residents and assisting them to protect their own environment,'' says Nina Orville, trading coordinator at Cultural Survival, a Cambridge, Mass.-based nonprofit human-rights organization working with indigenous peoples worldwide.

While the most environmentally conscious purchases are available only by special order, Ms. Orville says this is the only way to ensure that your dollars fall into the right hands. Brazil nuts sold in supermarkets may not have been harvested in the best way, says Orville: ``Even though all brazil nuts come from Amazon forests, purchasing them doesn't necessarily protect the forests. The benefits are not accruing to the people who are harvesting the nuts.''

Some products to buy: Rainforest Crunch, a cashew and brazil nut brittle. Nuts, dried fruits, soap, furniture polish, and handicrafts from indigenous peoples. Write: Cultural Survival, 53-A Church St., Cambridge, MA 02138; Tel. (617) 495-2562. Nut butters and tropical honey are available from Moon Shine Trading Company, P.O. Box 896, Winters, Calif. 95694. Tel. (916) 753-0601.

Some products to avoid: Tropical hardwoods found in furniture: mahogany, rosewood, teak. Smaller items: salad bowls, kitchen utensils, serving trays, wooden games, and picture frames made from tropical woods. For more information, call: Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco, (415) 398-4404.

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