Unlocking the potential of tropical fast-growing hardwood species

Social forestry or community managed forestry practices have been promoted as an inclusive way to mitigate climate change through the framework of the UNFCCC scheme of the Reduce Emission Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) programme. Fast growing wood species are one of the least tapped social forestry commodities in Southeast Asia, and they have the potential to be upscaled to meet the surge in demand of sawn timber. In 2016, the Government of Indonesia aimed to hand over concession rights to social forestry practice for 12.7 million hectares, and the support at the national level are presently strong. The highly demanded commercial species from the plantations are sengon (Paraserianthes falcataria) and jabon (Anthocephalus cadamba), another interesting species to explore is acacia (Acacia mangium). Physiologically, fast growing wood species are different from long rotation hardwoods with regard to their quality, i.e. their resistance to biodeterioration. In this study, the natural durability of the forementioned fast growing species have been investigated by laboratory testing, using basidiomycete monoculture. Wood specimens were subjected to brown rot (Coniophora puteana) and white rot (Trametes versicolor), for 16 weeks. Parameters such as mass loss, surface hardness, sorption properties, and anatomical characteristics after fungal inhibition were determined. Sorption measurement with high temperature had faster measurement time and smaller hysteresis. Different RH levels affected changes in total vessels area. Fast-grown wood specimens, A. cadamba, P. falcataria, and P. tomentosa were classified as slightly durable to non-durable except A. mangium. High data variability was presented in specimens exposed to C. puteana. Remaining axial hardness of wood specimens incubated with T. versicolor was lower compared to T. versicolor. Observation using EDX showed detection of major K cation on decayed specimens.

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