Phase one of a potentially impactful project to develop European demand for lesser known certified sustainable timber species (LKTS) from Suriname has been approved for co-funding by the European STTC. The project team is now calling on importers to join the project.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between the European Timber Trade Federation and Netherlands-based forestry services, conservation and development bodies Probos and Tropenbos International (TBI), plus other partners.
Initial evaluation, including an ETTF-member trade mission last year, concluded that Suriname’s FSC-certified forest operations have major potential to increase sustainable timber output. However this depends on harvesting and developing demand for a wider range of species.
The country’s forests (which cover 94% of its 164,000 km2 land surface) operate under a government harvest system permitting an annual allowable cut of 25m3/ha on a 25-year cycle. But, as only around 20 of the better known species are used, the actual volume felled is less than a one third of this. Moreover there is a risk of supply stress on the more common varieties.
Three of Suriname’s four leading concession operators, which between them manage 400,000m3 of FSC-certified forest and are also sawmillers, will take part in the project to evaluate the performance characteristics, possible applications and, subsequently, the European customer base for selected LKTS.
The latter will be drawn from an initial list of 10 varieties, which may be extended, drawn up earlier by Netherlands sustainable trade analysts and consultants PUM at the request of TBI. Their commercial names are Fukadi, Mandio, Tauari, Timborana, Quaruba/Yemeri, Ebano, Abiu/Chupon, Sapucaia, Kakaralli and Pacouri. And potential end-uses proposed by three of the four participating Suriname businesses include joinery and structural applications, decking, fencing and other garden products, interior design, including furniture making, bridges and marine products, pallets, packaging and industrial flooring – even chopsticks.
Phase one of the project will be undertaken by a range of environmental and forest issue specialist partners; including lead coordinators Probos and Tropenbos International Suriname, the Suriname Foundation for Forest Management and Production Control (SBB); Stichting Hout Research (SHR), CBI, Innovita and FSC Netherlands. Their initial research will lead to production of fact sheets for each species.
Best practice for introducing LKTS to the market will also be evaluated and at least three European importers will be engaged for support and advice in selecting, trialing and marketing the species with best commercial prospects.
Ultimately at least five of the ten species will be selected for phases two and three of the project, pending their approval and go ahead. These will comprise technical laboratory testing, application pilot projects and finally market communication, promotion and commercial introduction.
Phase one is expected to take six months and the whole project 2.5 years.
Importers interested in joining the project can contact Mark van Benthem at firstname.lastname@example.org or +31-317466560.
For more: http://www.europeansttc.com/projects/lkts/.