Lesser Know Timber Species


Photo: Mark van Benthem

Lesser Known Timber Species (LKTS) are globally underutilized species of timber. LKTS are emerging more than ever as a major challenge for the timber industry, requiring a proactive response to regulatory developments, sustainability imperatives, and increasing demands for species diversification. LKTS will be a returning rubric in this newsletter.

This time we provide the context for LKTS and in the next newsletters, everytime a LKTS species will be presented, kicking off with Pucté in the first 2024 newsletter. Firstly, the increasing rate of listings tropical timber species in Appendix II of CITES highlights the need for the industry to adapt quickly to the growing diversity of species to be processed. This diversification, driven by ecological concerns and sustainability imperatives, requires in-depth consideration of the identification, processing, and promotion of the resources used.

Furthermore, in the context of the next generation of forest management plans – the first generation of which is ending – the use of LKTS species is becoming a central issue. Decisions taken in this context will have long-term repercussions on the sustainability of the timber industry and its impact on forest ecosystems. New legislation, such as that currently in force in the Republic of Congo, adds a further layer of urgency by encouraging those involved in the sector to pay particular attention to this issue.

Against this backdrop, where environmental issues and the sustainable management of forest resources take center stage, various projects have emerged in recent years to address the LKTS issue. The member companies of the Fair&Precious collective have all undertaken more or less isolated initiatives. For example, the effective promotion of Gombé in Gabon has been positive. In addition, ATIBT’s initiative in Cameroon to identify and promote species of interest on the markets illustrates the need for a proactive and coordinated approach.

ever, to move forward meaningfully, it is imperative to put in place a real strategy, characterized by increased collaboration between wood processing industries and forestry companies committed to certified sustainable forest management. This collaboration is crucial to ensuring the responsible use of tropical wood through LKTS species, by aligning industrial practices with the objectives of conserving natural resources and preserving forest ecosystems.