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Teak Plantations: Economic Bonanza or Environmental Disaster?

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Teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) is a high-value tropical hardwood with unique wood properties. Teak timber is diminishing in its native range and most teak now comes from intensively managed plantations outside the native range. With increasing demand for high-quality teak wood, plantation area is only expected to increase. There are currently many criticisms and uncertainties expressed in the literature and in public forums regarding the establishment of new teak plantations. The literature indicates issues limiting the potential for teak including wood quality, silvicultural methods, pest problems, and environmental considerations. A field survey of teak plantations along the Pacific Coast of Mexico revealed that silvicultural methods are well known and effective, and most environmental negatives can be mitigated through landscape-level decisionmaking. This article provides information that can assist institutions and investors in deciding whether to consider plantations of high-quality, short-rotation teak in suitable climatic regions.
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Keywords: Mexico; plantations; teak (Tectona grandis L.f.); tropical hardwood; wood quality

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-07-01

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  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.

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