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Why Buy Indonesian Plantation Teak products

The public may not be able to differ between the use of teak from Burmese forests and teak from Indonesian plantations - unless informed about it. The below facts might give some perspective and assistance with arguments in the debate.

1. In Indonesia there is NO and has NEVER been any wild growing teak.

2. The teak plantations were established more than 200 years ago.

3. No natural forest has been cut to extend the plantations for several decades.

4. The Indonesian government, through the Forestry Department Perum Perhutani, owns and manages 3,2 million  acres of teak plantations. Apart from those there are many privately owned plantations.

5. A boycott of teak from the plantations in Indonesia would have dramatic, negative consequences:

a) The teak plantations would loose their value and instead have to be clear-cut in order to give space to more financially viable species � where the timber itself is not the end product.

b) That species would probably be oil-palm - an environmental catastrophe according to all scientists and environmental groups.

c) This would lead to an extinction of the animal life that has established in the teak plantations through the year hundreds.

d) Thousands of industries and establishments, living on the teak plantations, would have to close down.

e) More than half a million (500.000) people - family supporters - would loose their jobs.

f) Serious producers of teak products, who actively work for a constant improvement on the sustainable plantation management, would be damaged - possibly bankrupt - and prevented to proceed with the long-term positive work.

g) A boycott of Indonesian teak does NOT transform the plantations into rainforest.

6. There is a big difference between cheap, fast grown, thinning timber � often used for teak furniture production - and the teak specially selected for the marine industry.

7. The geographical location of the teak forest/plantation is of no importance for the final teakwood product quality. Careful and slow nursing, experienced selection and appropriate, simple maintenance are the keys to a teakwood product that lasts for generations. This is established by the Swedish Institute of Wood Science in Uppsala, Sweden.

8. Alternative, thermo-treated wood becomes soft and porous when the "cement" (glucose & lignin) between the wood cells are burnt away (the bacteria snacks) and continues to be an unsuitable material.

9. Plastic and other artificial materials as alternatives to teakwood are - with all chemicals included and polluting, energy-consuming manufacturing processes - environmental catastrophes in a comparison.

10. For an end-users practical parallel wood/plastic - compare with seats in a car; real leather, or plastic that looks like leather.

11. Active from the 12 of March 2008 it is illegal in all European Community countries to buy and/or deal with any wood originating from Burma/Myanmar.

12. Teakwood that officially comes from "China", "Malaysia", "Thailand" or similar is smuggled from Burma/Myanmar and illegally transhipped, because there is no large scale, industrial teak growing in those countries.

13. EuroDesign Group is today the only international manufacturer of teak products to the marine industry that only and guaranteed uses Indonesian plantation teak.

14. Through proper documentation, every delivery from EuroDesign can be tracked back to its place of origin in the plantation where the trees were harvested and replaced with new plants.

15. From the 17 October 2008 and onwards the European Commission has imposed all companies buying products made of tropical wood to "seek sufficient guarantees that timber was harvested legally".

16. Consumers/boat buyers should demand from the dealer a fact-based reassurance about the origin of the wood - and that environmental organisations and authorities should be able to check that information.

17. In order to promote the survival of the enormous teak plantations in Indonesia - you SHOULD buy, rather than to avoid.

Indonesian Teak Plantation

Perum Perhutani is a State owned enterprise managing State Forests in Java and Madura on a commercial basis and with responsibility to implement concurrent social welfare, economic and national development directives. Its fief is 2.5 million ha and includes 1.081 million ha of teak forest of which 0.837 million ha is suitable for the clear felling harvest system. Management is through a Board of Planning in each provincial level unit which sets an annual plan for implementation by a Forest District manager. The reforestation programme averages annually 10,000 ha, 8,000 of teak. Establishment is generally by taungya, with farmer rights to 0.25 ha; elsewhere a contract system operates. Direct seeding is employed and Leucaena interplanted. Intensive weeding and thinning is applied; the rotation is 40-80 years. Annual production is 750,000 m3 teak log and 130,000 stacked meters of firewood. An integrated wood industry converts to sawn timber, moulding and parquet. The industry is supported by kilns, joinery and parquet plants. The market is domestic and export, either by direct or contract sales. Teak improvement is in progress in the selection of superior trees, and establishment of seedling and clonal seed orchards. Teak improvement objectives include increased growth, better stem form and branching habit and resistance to pests and disease. Rural community development includes village uplifting and the enhancement of people�s skill and a better quality of life.


Perum Perhutani is an Indonesia State owned Forest Enterprise responsible for management of the State owned forests in the islands of Java and Madura. As a State owned enterprise, it is charged both with services for social welfare, and for profitable operation based on business principles. To fulfill these tasks, it has to produce goods and services suitable to meet the needs of people, and to actively take part in carrying out and supporting the implementation of the Government�s policies and programmes in the fields of economic and National development. The enterprise conducts all activities from establishment of plantations, stand maintenance, forest protection, harvesting, product processing. Its philosophy includes maximizing the utilization of the forest, sustainability of the forest resource and environment and increasing the welfare of society, especially those living in, and nearby to the forest.

The working territory covers 2.5 million ha and is divided into units: Unit I Central Java, Unit II East Java and Unit III West Java. According to its function, the area is divided into 0.5 million ha protection forest, and the other 2 ha million into production forest. The production forest includes several species, each defined to particular areas. The area of teak, Tectona grandis, plantation covers 1.081 million ha in which 0.837 million ha suitable for the clear felling harvest system. This area of 0.837 million ha includes some very old naturally regenerated teak forest and some mixed species forest suitable for teak but not yet converted. The future clear felled plantation reforested to teak may be in the order of 0.6 of the 0.8 million ha.


To achieve sustainable production, resource and environment control, forest management operations based on several plans, are implemented through:

bulletForest development plans which deal with surveying, mapping, yield regulation, road network planning and preparation of the sustained yield plan;
bulletCorporate plans that include potentials, inventory and evaluation, SWOT analysis, goal projection, strategic setting and programme formulation to implement the strategies; and
bulletDevelopment plans aimed at short cut steps or measures to be taken in attaining specified goals within a defined period of time.

A Board of Planning in each Unit (Provincial level) has authority to define the Management Plan (annually). This Plan is beyond the intervention level of the Forest District manager - the executing agency. This is to guarantee and maintain, sustainable forest resource production. A computerized forest resource information system and Geo Information System of Arcinfo and llwis is being established to facilitate better forest plans in the near future.


The reforestation programme is to increase the productivity of the forest land area. Reforestation is implemented in cut over forest and unproductive areas such as bare and shrub land, or low stocked areas resulting from the failure of earlier reforestation. The annual area under the reforestation programme averages 10,000 ha - teak 8,000 ha and the rest other species.

The taungya system is widely applied in reforesting logged over areas. This approach provides mutual benefit to both Perum Perhutani and society, wherein local people are engaged as farmers with the right of growing staple food crops, and the obligation to grow forest trees. Each farmer has rights to 0.25 ha of land or 4 farmers per ha. The system provides an additional income of about US$200-250 per year per farmer. Contract daily wage systems usually operate in corridor or spot planting, labour are paid at the daily wage tariff. This latter system is used in areas where it is impossible to apply the taungya system due to absence of candidate farmers or to the physical terrain condition.

Direct seeding is applied in teak plantations at spacing of 3m � 1m. Rows of the legume (Leucaena) are interplanted between teak rows to eliminate the disadvantage of monoculture and to increase biodiversity, enrich the nitrogen content of the soil, provide forage resource for animals and to establish a seed stand for the next plantation programme.


The purpose of these activities is to establish high value forest - both in volume and quality - at attributes the end of the rotation age and to retain soil fertility as well as environment.

Tending is required as successful teak plantations have specific environment conditions, being intolerant both light and root competition. Activities include weeding, pruning, thinning and protection against pests and diseases and from destructive agents as grazing and fire.

Thinning is scheduled 5 times in the first twenty years and after that, every 10 years. The number of trees thinned is stipulated in Stand Tables. Tree selection for retention has the principal objective of having the best quality stand, and timber, by the end of the rotation.


Harvesting is dominated by the logging operation and is oriented to labour intensive systems, where as many as possible local people are employed within the constraints implied in the forest business.

Girdling is applied two years before cutting. The rotation is 40-80 years depending on the biophysical condition and on social factors. Annual production is 750,000 m3 logs, 130,000 stacked meters of fuelwood (1m � 1m � 1m). Due to the very high value of teak a registration system has been developed to facilitate a monitoring system of the whole range of products, and its effect starts from the stump in the field and proceeds to the end user.


The integrated teak wood industries consist of sawmills, veneer plants, kilns, moulding, joinery and parquet plants. One industry set is established in Central Java and the other in East Java. The aim is to: create maximum added value within the country, minimize waste, open employment opportunities, and to stimulate the development of the surrounding area.

Marketing practices are aimed at both domestic and overseas end users. The marketing system is managed through several systems as:

bulletLarge scale auctions to serve big timber companies.
bulletSmall auctions to serve local people.
bulletDirect sales to serve persons and home industries.
bulletContract based sales to serve certain agencies and industries.
bulletExports through the Agency system in Europe, USA, east Asia, Australia and Middle East countries.


A teak improvement programme was commenced in 1981 to improve the forest potential. The objectives include: producing high value forest stands using genetically superior seed, identifying the most suitable provenances for particular areas, improving the genetic properties of trees with regard to growth, stem form, branching and resistance to pests and diseases. Activities cover selection of superior trees and the establishment of clonal and seedling seed orchards to produce enhanced quality seed.


This effort started in 1973 with its main objectives as people�s welfare and a well managed forest which in turn gives a better quality life. In 1981 the strategy and purpose became a more conceptual and planned oriented approach, directed at the development of rural social welfare.

Since then more endeavor has been aimed at the biophysical improvement of the villages, enhancement of skill of the people, and opportunity creation to the local people to participate in forest development. Agroforestry is implemented to increase the share of forest and forestry in the improvement of living of the rural people in particular, and regional development in general. There are supplementary activities to enhance the multiple use of forest land as sericulture, beekeeping, recreation forest, wildlife breeding with support to home and small scale industries.




 Botanical Garden Conservation International        Association of Zoological Horticulture     Public Garden Association                      NAJGA                                        IAAPA

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Last modified: November 19, 2019