The global teak study. Analysis, evaluation and future potential of teak resources.
Teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) is one of the most valuable tropical hardwoods of the world. Together with other highgrade hardwoods such as mahogany and rosewood, teak is sought in the global markets for its beauty, strength and stability, natural resistance and wide array of applications ranging from quality furniture through interior joinery to cultural uses. Given the importance of teak, the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) over the past decades have been actively involved in research and development work of natural and planted teak forests. ITTO has been supporting teak related projects with a focus on genetic resources conservation, seed production as well as sustainable management of natural and planted teak forests in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Within its scientific structure, IUFRO maintains a special working party on the "utilization of planted teak" which aims at research and dissemination of scientific information on teak timber produced within the framework of socially and environmentally acceptable norms of sustainable forest management. The work includes identification of superior reproductive material from different provenances in various countries, characterisation and market standardisation of juvenile wood produced in intensively managed plantations as well as developing models for prediction of intensive silvicultural and genetic improvement techniques on timber quality and market end-product value of teak wood. FAO has published two technical reports on teak that serve as a reference on global teak resources and markets in the aftermath of Myanmar's log export ban. Natural teak forests, in particular old-growth, high-quality stands, are declining. Likewise, the sustained production of teak logs from natural forests is decreasing due to overexploitation of existing stands, deforestation, conversion to other land-uses, and growing competition for environmental services. In the light of these current threats of deforestation and the constraints in developing sustainable management systems for teak, in 2016 a group of experts from IUFRO, FAO and TEAKNET were tasked by ITTO to organize and implement a global teak study that would address best practices and lessons learnt on the conservation of teak genetic resources and the sustainable management of teak forests in different country contexts in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Towards this end, a retrospective evaluation of the ITTO-supported project "Ex-situ and In-situ Conservation of Teak (Tectona grandis L.f.) to Support Sustainable Forest Management" in Myanmar was conducted including a review of other teak-related ITTO projects in Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, Ecuador and Panama. Guided by these evaluation results a team of IUFRO scientists and other teak experts have synthesised globally available state-of-the-art scientific information and empirical knowledge on teak and have compiled this comprehensive global teak study. The subjects addressed in this report include genetic resources conservation and management; natural teak forest silviculture and stand management; the establishment and management of planted teak forests; wood quality; and economics, production, markets and trade of teak. The report also provides policy recommendations and guidance for future work in promoting sustainable management of natural and planted teak forests in the tropics.