Countries Exporting The Highest Volumes Of Tropical Logs

Logging, processing, and exporting rubber tree logs is a major economic boost, and environmental threat, in Malaysia.
Logging, processing, and exporting rubber tree logs is a major economic boost, and environmental threat, in Malaysia.

There are many different type of plant species that yield tropical woods and they grow in various tropical locations around the world. The regions that plant species that yield tropical woods are Central America, South America, East Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and South East Asia. There are many different categories of plant species from all of these various regions that yield tropical woods. Some of these species are the Afrormosia, Greenheart, Iroko, Teak, and African Mahogany, just to name a few.

The Process of Exporting Tropical Logs

Harvesting Tropical Logs for Export

The first step to extracting tropical logs is marking the trees that have been identified for removal. This is only done if selective cutting is implemented, if not then every tree is cut down with no concern about conservation. There are three main methods to handle a tree after it is cut down, namely the short-wood, long-wood, and whole tree methods. In the short-wood method the tree are fully processed at the site they are cut down. Then they are transported to a storage area. In the long-wood method the trees are topped and have their limbs removed at the site they are cut down. This results in longer logs that are bucked and debarked later at a processing site. In the whole tree method the whole tree is transported to be processed at a processing center. Regardless of the process used the logs are then take to a sawmill to be shaped and farther processed. The last steps are drying the wood, treating the finished wood with chemicals and then grading it.

Packaging of Tropical Logs for Export

After tropical logs are fully processed they are transported not as logs, but as finished wood products, including furniture, seats, frames, doors, or profiled wood. There products as well as other are transported in a number of different ways, by freighter on the open oceans, by smaller boats in inland waterways, by truck, by rail and by airplanes. If the finished wood product is something with smaller pieces on it, such as knobs, those are packaged separately along with the main product. The products are secured with wrapping and twine and usually placed into crates when being transported.

Species of Trees Primarily Exported by Each Country

In Malaysia one of the main tropical logs that they export is from the rubber-wood tree. In Papua New Guinea one of the main tropical logs they export is from the Intsia bijuga, also called the merbau. In Myanmar and the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) some of the main tropical logs are from the Acacia eatechu and the Aegle marmelos. In the Solomon Islands, one of the main source species for tropical log exports are those from the rhizophora. In the many African countries on the list (Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Ivory Coast some of the main species that tropical logs come from include the fever tree, the baobab tree, and the sycamore fig, among many others.

Environmental Impacts and Regulations

The environmental impact of producing and exporting tropical logs is great. The majority of deforestation in the world occurs in tropical areas and rainforests. This deforestation causes animals and plant species to lose their habitats and can cause many species to become endangered. The lack of trees also causes soil erosion and lets more greenhouses gases into the atmosphere. This also harms our understanding of nature, since rainforests around the world host so many potentially undiscovered species of plants and animals. Some restrictions and bans that countries have put on cutting down tropical log producing trees are to restriction cutting down trees from certain forests, supporting tree plantations and supporting selective cutting. Some countries have even gone as far as having logging bans at certain points as a response to trying to correct forest policy failures.

Countries Exporting The Highest Volume Of Tropical Logs

RankCountryShare of global exports of tropical logs

by country of export (1000’s of cubic meters), 2013

2Papua New Guinea3,100
4Solomon Islands2,105
5Democratic Republic of Congo772
7Lao PDR454
8Equatorial Guinea431
10Côte d'Ivoire289

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