Indeed, Teak has always been recognised as a premium timber. It was originally native to Burma and found growing in small pockets in South East Asia. However, in 1913 it was also transplanted into plantations in West Africa and since then has thrived. Teak has proven to be extremely well suited to the plantations of Ghana, thanks to both the climate and terrain, not to mention the high combustion point of the wood – which means it is resistant to annual forest fires even when the trees are very young.
Similarly, whenever large volumes of teak have been released onto the market, the fear has always arisen that the price of wholesale timber will be significantly reduced. Yet this has rarely, if ever, happened. The worldwide appetite for timber is always growing and the constant (and well-managed) availability of high-quality hardwood teak not only maintains its value, it also helps to reduce the global pressures on natural forests and cut down on illegal logging. Because teak is now available to be used in areas that were previously unable to use it (because of expense), hardwoods from natural forests are no longer being extracted so urgently.
History has shown us that the global demand for timber will always grow and grow – thanks to an ever-expanding middle class, an ever-increasing global population needing housing and countries such as China and India demanding more and more of the luxuries that have been staples in the west for so long. This demand will be all the more acute as climate change requires us to protect more and more forests and plant more and more trees. Thankfully, the teak industry can manage this demand whilst still playing an essential role in climate change – by providing a never-ending supply of quality hardwood teak and simultaneously regenerating the forests in the reserve.