Boosting lesser known species’ profile

STTC-backed initiatives to evaluate the performance potential of lesser known tropical timber species (LKTS) are forging ahead.  The ultimate aim of the projects in Denmark and the Netherlands is to deliver data that can be used to market the timber worldwide in a range of applications and further incentivise sustainable forest management in the supplier countries.

In the Danish city of Aarhus, the Kulbro-View project has already done much to raise the market profile of LKTS. This comprises the construction of a viewing platform on part of the concrete framework of the old Coal Bridge, originally built to transport coal to the city centre from the harbour. The latter is now undergoing major redevelopment  and the goal is to transform the bridge into an elevated public walkway.

Initiated by FSC Denmark, the STTC-supported Kulbro-View is both a testbed for evaluating the potential of lesser-known tropical species, plus a shop window for them. In total it uses 17 species. ”We wanted to ensure that sustainability is thought into future projects and to introduce knowledge on sustainable tropical timber and flag it is as a possible way to address social and environmental challenges,” said project coordinator from FSC Denmark, Kristian Jørgensen. “We see Kulbro-View as FSC’s way to address the theme “Let’s Rethink”. What better way to do it than by building bridges to the tropical parts of the earth, ensuring income for the forest workers and using the forests sustainably. “On top of that, by using LKTS we are highlighting that, if you are open to using many different wood species, and not just the same five, tropical forest management can be even more sustainable.”

The initiative has also involved Danish timber suppliers, of which 11 joined the STTC at the 2017 STTC Conference. They form a network pledged to both support the use of sustainably sourced tropical wood through their procurement policy and further promote LKTS. With the support of the STTC, FSC Denmark is also further developing its dedicated website

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands various importers, in association with Probos and FSC-certified concession holders in Suriname are undertaking a programme of tropical LKTS laboratory and field testing, market education and promotion. It’s the latest phase of an STTC-supported project to develop trade in a broader basket of Surinamese species with the European market. Other donors include the Dutch Embassy in Paramaribo, Centre for the promotion of imports from developing countries (CBI); SKH and the importers involved.

This initiative has already included a European timber-company mission to FSC forestry operations in the South American country, which currently only exploits 5% of its forest area for timber. It is also supported by FSC Netherlands, and conservation and development body Tropenbos International.

The five Dutch importers now trialling the timber are World Timber Products, Sneek Hout, Nailtra, Houthandel Van Dam and GWW Houtimport, with their first batches of material supplied by Surinamese FSC-certified concession holders and sawmills Soekhoe & Sons and Greenheart Suriname.

Their goal is to develop a customer base for the LKTS and in so doing boost the commercial and environmental sustainability of the Suriname forestry and timber sector. Currently the latter focus on exploitation of around 20 species, with take-off estimated at just 8m3 per hectare on a 25-year cycle, making for a barely economic timber operation.

The five importers are now supporting lab tests conducted by SHR, evaluating the LKTS performance against such standards as NEN-EN 350 and TS 15083-1 and 2,  plus pilot testing in live projects. The Surinamese / northern Amazon species Pakuli (Bacuri) is one of the species selected for further lab tests, but also included in the Kulbro view project for field testing. A nice synergy between the two STTC supported projects. The other species selected for testing are: Gindya udu (Tanimbuca); Ingipipa (Tauari); Kimboto (Casca); Manbarklak; and Bostamarinde. Click here to view the first draft fact sheets.

Scientific name Surinamese name Commercial name
1) Buchenavia tetraphylla Gindya udu Tanimbuca, Fukadi
2) Couratari spp. Ingipipa Tauari
3) Pradosia ptychandra, P. surinamensis &P. schomburgkiana Kimboto Casca, Abiu, Chupon
4) Eschweilera spp. Manbarklak Manbarklak, Kakaralli
5) Platonia guianensis, P. insignis, Rheedia spp. Pakuli Pacouri

The eleven Danish companies who became STTC participants are: Keflico, Wennerth Wood Trading, Gert Skyt International, A/S Global Timber, Lund & Staun A/S, XL-BYG a.m.b.a.,Cicon Timber A/S, TRACER, STARK/DT Group, and International Timber Trading ApS.