Hardwood Timber Reforestation: Species Info


Primary native and exotic species

We diversify our plantations with Native and exotic species choosing high growth, high value species which prosper under the given soil content, slope and rainfall of each site. We have over 10 years of experience working in Nicaragua's Pacific Coast experimenting and researching a multitude of species combinations and densities to find the system that works best. While exotic species such as teak and african mahogany have high growth rates, low maintenance and years of available data from other plantations, we feel it is important to integrate and continue to develop systems of the native species which offer higher environmental benefits and protect biodiversity.

Teak (Tectona grandis)

Teak is the most common tropical hardwood held in timber plantations in Asia and Latin America. Teak is native to Southeast Asia and the Pacific and is thus an non-native species in Nicaragua. However, the rainfall, volcanic soil, and intense sunlight in Nicaragua and Costa Rica provide optimum conditions for teak. Teak has a growth cycle of 20-25 years, low maintenance costs, and is fairly resilient to pests. There is ample market for teak in Asia and Europe for furniture, decking, flooring, and boat making.

Genuine Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla o humilis)

Since the arrival of the Spanish westerners have been cutting down and exporting Mahogany in mass quantities from Central America. Genuine Mahogany, native to Central and Latin America, is one of the world's best known and most expensive woods. It is hard, yet lighter than most hardwoods, has a very straight grain and is perfect for furniture and doors. The demand for Mahogany has placed it on the worldwide list of Endangered Species (CITES) as most of the old growth Mahogany has been logged out of Central America. The growth cycle for genuine Mahogany is 25-35 years and it tends to prosper in shaded areas mixed with other species.

Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata)

Spanish Cedar or Cedro Real is in the same family as Mahogany and is another much sought after tropical timber species which once predominated the forests from Mexico to Brazil. Traditional logging in the 1800's and 1900's would primarily target just two species; Spanish Cedar and Mahogany as both float and can be extracted through the network of rivers which existed in the virgin rainforest. Spanish Cedar is also on the CITES endangered species list due to its high demand internationally which has led to its depletion.

Pochote (Bombacopsis quinata)

Pochote is also known as Spiny Cedar or Cedro Espino. This species is indigenous to Nicaragua and the surrounding areas. It is one of the most coveted woods among locals and is used in furniture and boat building. Pochote is a rapid growing pioneer species that prospers in the dry tropical pasturelands of the pacific coast. Pochote is also a CITES protected species due to is high regional demand and limited optimal growth areas.

Rosewood or Cocobolo (Dalbergia retusa)

A hard figured wood which is used for car dashboards, guitars and other decorative inlays. The very pronounced growth rings and dark luxurious color is very sought after. Cocobolo species is endangered but rapid depletion continues in Nicaragua. Rosewood is slower growing than teak but has a higher market value and almost all of the tree is usable. It can be sold in small small short blocks or even by weight. Primary consumption is in China for small inlays and decorative pieces or carvings.

African Mahogany (Khaya senegalensis)

African Mahogany is very similar to Central American Mahogany in wood color and characteristics. The leaves are also very similar with the exception of a rounded tip. Kaya senegalensis is used in furniture, doors and cabinetry. African Mahogany is a fast growing tree that has adapted well to the Nicaraguan growing conditions. The benefit of this species over Genuine Honduran Mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla ) is that it is not effected by the hypsipila grandella shoot borer which tends to attack stands of Cedro Real and Mahogany in their native habitat and causes higher maintenance costs in the first 3-5 years.