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FAO Assessment on Teak Highlights Decline in Natural Forests

FAO26 March 2012: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has completed a Teak Resources and Market Assessment in 60 tropical countries, which notes the decline in the quality of natural grown teak but also identifies an increase in the area and quality of planted teak forests.

The report describes a decline in natural teak forests of 1.3% over the past 18 years in the four countries where it grows naturally (India, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand). It notes that only Myanmar still produces teak from natural forests, as the other countries have logging bans in natural forests or export bans in place. The report underscores the challenges of estimating the extent of teak forests, as they do not grow in pure stands.

It estimates that the area of planted teak forests reported by 38 countries to be 4.346 million hectares, of which 83% is in Asia, 11% in Africa, and 6% in tropical America. The report highlights the high value of planted teak forests and private sector investment across the tropics for teak timber. It also underscores the need to plan, organize and implement a programme for genetic conservation of native teak resources in the countries with natural teak forests. The report provides an overview of the flow of the teak trade towards India, with India absorbing 70-100% of global exports including from Africa and Latin America. [FAO Press Release] [FAO Publication: Teak Resources and Market Assessment]