Thanks to its natural durability and water resistance, as well as its looks, teak was being more and more used for boat decks and furniture exposed to water (patio, bathroom).
This sudden peak in demand and consumption started to endanger rare old-growth one. However, this is the reason we have more and more sustainable plantations that are both commercially and ecologically viable.
Where Does it Grow?
Teak is a tropical hardwood tree that prefers moist and warm climate. This wood is native to South and Southeast Asia.
Countries like Indonesia, India, Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh are well known for it.
Plantations are also emerging in Central and South America due to the high demand and reasonably short growth period.
Myanmar is known to hold almost half of the world’s naturally grown teak. However, it’s being rigorously preserved despite the high demand.
On the other side, the huge majority of commercially harvesting comes from Indonesian plantations.
Their state own enterprise called PerumPerhutani controls the forest’s and manages a sustainable planting and harvesting process.
Old vs new teak
For a long time, it was considered that timber from older trees was much more durable and denser than the one grown on plantations.
However, several studies have shown no significant differences in growth rate and density between plantation and old-growth teak.
Experts have recently tried to replicate the grain of Burmese teak by growing it in the similar environment without irrigation or fertilizers.
Most common pests and diseases teak farmers face are Hyblaeapuera and Eutectonamachaeralis (defoliator and skeletoniser), which cause serious damage to young plantations.
Control measures include natural fresh extracts of Datura metal, ClotropisProcera, and Azadirachtaindica, which are effective against skeletonizers. This method provides environmentally friendly protection without any use of insecticides or pesticides.
Considering that it grow without fertilizers and heavy irrigation in a sustainable manner, investment in teak furniture can be an ethical investment.
Just make sure to check where it comes from. Indonesian plantations regulated by Perum Perhutani are always a safe bet.