Added Value

Sustainable cultivation of FSC certified Teak plantations in Brazil.

When Teak is mentioned there are worried concerns that the procurement in the form of logs, veneers and lumber becomes increasingly difficult from Burma and Thailand.

Timber from Brazil and the rainforests in the Amazonas today, one thinks of the destruction of the rainforests there, which unfortunately is still continuing. However, there are projects in the establishment of pastures for livestock and plantations of woods.

Hardly anyone thinks of Teak wood in connection with Brazil. However, it is possible to plant Teak plantations, to manage them ecologically and sustainably.

Almost 30 years ago, Ulrich & Co. in Brazil took part in an ecologically exemplary forestry operation in the tropics in order to ensure the supply of Teak wood to its customers and at the same time to protect the tropical forests of Brazil. A win win situation.

The company Caceres Florestal was founded in 1960 in the state of Mato Grosso, at the southern end of the Brazilian Amazon forest to export high-quality logs in the form of sawn timber, sliced veneer and round lumber, as well as to cover the increasing domestic demand without ruthless deforestation.

Company founder Mr Karl Veit first started in1968 to investigate the afforestation and planting of certain valuable woods to create a new raw material base. After experiments with several tree species it became obvious that planting Teak showed the best results. The rapid growth and robustness of the young Teak plants were particularly impressive. After less than two years, the young plants had already developed into young trees of a good 8 m height. Added to this were the good technical properties and the comparatively high market value of Teak even then and to this day.

In 1971 the first Teak plantation was established on an area of 19 hectares. In the following years, the cultivation areas were gradually increased so that in 1989 the plantation area was 1,205 hectares. Until the end of the 25-year cycle in 1996, a further 250 hectares were cultivated annually with Teak.

It should be pointed out that the cultivation of Teak at Caceres Florestal has a special ecological significance as the plantations were not planted on deforested or cleared forest areas, as is customary in the tropics. This project, no original natural forests have been destroyed by slash-and-burn in order to establish a mono-culture with certain tree species. Today's plantation was built on a barely used bush savannah with a size of 12,591 hectares only half of which is used for Teak cultivation. A large part of the remaining area is protected in order to preserve the original vegetation.

In contrast to natural forests, which are almost 70 years old before felling, Teak plantation wood is ready for harvesting after 25 years and reaches so-called cutting maturity by this time. In 1996, for the first 19 hectares planted in 1971 a harvest volume of almost 330 m³ per hectare was achieved. In the meantime, due to the good harvest results, the cutting cycle could be extended to 30 years and the yield per hectare would be increased accordingly. At present, the company is managed by Karl Veits sons Vitor and Luis.

Every 5 years, the individual sections are thinned and the resulting smaller timber is added to these calculations. These yield performances of such a valuable tropical wood as Teak are unique. They show that it is quite possible to cultivate a certain tree species in the tropical rainforest and to successfully manage and market it according to forestry criteria.

We hope that this example will make Mato Grosso a school to grow and market other woods in an environmentally friendly way in other countries as well, thus employing and training local people and of course, exporting wood also brings foreign exchange into the country and thus contributes to the economy.