Tectona grandis plantations worldwide
The excellent properties and versatile nature of teak (Tectona grandis L. f.) timber and its eminent suitability for an array of uses is well documented. The potential for growing and managing teak in different ecological zones and under different situations (objectives) is being increasingly recognized, leading to intensive domestication and cultivation of the species in countries/regions beyond its natural habitat. Despite the value of teak timber and its increasing demand, its full potential for providing direct revenue as well as value-added down-stream processing and for contributing to the national income has not been fully utilized.
Despite all the efforts invested in reforestation, i.e. 5.7 million hectares planted worldwide in year 2000 according to the FAO (2000), the currently available Tectona grandis (teak) timber resources are far below the needs of the huge worldwide market demand (Ball et al. 2000). In the last TEAKNET (Asia-Pacific Network) meeting held in 1999 in Chiang Mai (Thailand), the lack of planting stock, especially of superior quality, was identified as the primary cause of the teak timber deficit. Increased yield, higher uniformity and shorter rotations are strong incentives for developing the intensively managed T. grandis plantations, which are gaining a worldwide reputation due to the attractiveness and durability of teak wood. Market demands have prompted the establishment of plantations within and beyond its native countries (Hoare and Patanapongsa 1988, Monteuuis and Goh 1999, Bhat 2000).
Although several research projects have refined many aspects of teak silviculture, there are gaps in what is known about managing and use, growing teak in such vital aspects as site requirements, stand dynamics, short-rotation intensive management, wood processing, grading rules and product marketing. The importance of stocking density, for instance, is still vague as thinning intensities and periods have not been properly defined in relation to production objectives. Very often administrative decisions prevail over technical criteria and stands are thinned either too late or less intensively than recommended, causing a negative effect on individual and stand growth. Most of the tree plantations in the tropics grown for saw timber require early, heavy and repeated thinnings in order to sustain their characteristic rapid diameter growth (Galloway et al. 2001). Delaying thinning or carrying out slight interventions at early stages prompts inter-tree competition. On the contrary, too early or too strong interventions, although not common, cause site under-occupancy and the consequent loss in stand productivity.
Teak occurs naturally in parts of India, Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. It has been naturalized in Java, where it was probably introduced some 400-600 years ago (Troup 1921, Kadambi 1972, White 1992). Early introductions of teak outside Asia were made in Nigeria, with the first plantations being of Indian origin in 1902 and subsequently of Burmese origin (Horne 1966). Teak planting in what is now eastern Ghana started around 1905 and a small plantation of teak was established in Côte d’Ivoire in 1929 from plantation seeds obtained from then Togoland. Teak was introduced to countries of Tropical Africa to supplement local timber supplies because of its excellent timber properties. Perhaps the first pure teak plantation in Tropical America was established in Trinidad
In 1913 with seeds from Burma. Teak planting in Honduras, Panama, and Costa Rica started between 1927 and 1929 (Ball et al. 2000).
Teak is the world’s most cultivated high-grade tropical heartwood, covering approximately 6.0 million hectares worldwide (Bhat and Hwan Ok Ma 2004). Of this net area of teak plantations, about 94% are in Tropical Asia, with India (44%) and Indonesia (31%) contributing the bulk of the resource. Other countries of the region contribute significantly with 17% in total (Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka). About 4.5% of the teak plantations are in Tropical Africa and the rest are in Tropical America, mostly in Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago (Pandey 1998). The Asian Pacific region (5.3 million hectares) have been managed under 35 to 80-year rotations , yielding annual productivities of 5 to 20 m3 ha-1 year-1, while teak plantations in Africa (310,000 hectares) are harvested at shorter rotations of 20 years, yielding between 4 and 13 m3 ha-1 year-1 (Bhat and Hwan Ok Ma 2004). Central and South American teak plantations (205,000 ha) are being managed under similar short rotation scenarios of 20-25 years, however they have shown higher yields of up to 40 m3 ha-1 year-1 (average of 20-25 m3 ha-1 year-1 on medium and high quality sites).
Teak has been grown under plantation conditions for 150 years. In the last decade, its high value as timber of excellent appearance and mechanical resistance, and the appearance of strong markets for teak products which parallels an increasingly declining stock of natural stands, have attracted particular attention to the potential of teak plantations as a high return investment possibility (Ball et al. 2000).
We are one and only high yielding tissue culture teak producers in India & abroad
M. BALAKRISHNA M. Sc, (Ph.D.),
Seven Hills Invitro Labs Pvt. Ltd.,
(Plant Tissue Culture Laboratory)
# 125, A.P. Sub Registrars Colony, Timminaidupalem,
Akkarampalli (P) Tirupati 517507
Andhra Pradesh, INDIA.
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