Selecting the correct species for future plantings is a matter not just of the timbers and products that the market desires, it is very important to select species that will grow well on the proposed planting site. Details of silviculture, plant management, growth rates and rotation lengths must be well understood. The land which Company operates is highly suitable for rapid tree growth.
Eucalyptus grandis is one of the main plantation species grown in tropical and sub-tropical plantations worldwide, due to its wide range of end-uses and the potential to achieve some of the highest growth rates of any plantation forestry species. It has a very versatile timber that is used for fuelwood, building poles, sawn timber, as well as for pulp and paper.
Due to the long history Eucalyptus has as a commercial plantation forestry crop, much genetic improvement work has been done on the species. Many genetic hybrids have been bred (with Eucalyptus grandis as the mother of the stock) that are specifically suited to certain climates and conditions. More hybrids are now planted worldwide than pure Eucalyptus grandis.
Eucalyptus is generally planted on a 2x3m spacing or closer, leading to stocking rates of 1,600 trees per hectare and above.
Eucalyptus is being planted by the Company in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Teak is a tropical tree well known and desired for its appearance and durability. Its wood is naturally durable and has a wide range of uses, which has led to teak becoming one of the most valuable timbers on the international market. There is an excellent market for plantation teak, particularly from those plantations certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Teak is native to Southeast Asia but is now grown extensively across the entire tropical region. Historically, Indonesia and Myanmar have been the world's major producers and exporters of teak, predominantly harvested from now-dwindling natural forest resources, but its high quality timber is increasingly stimulating private investment into plantation-grown teak in countries across the tropical region.
Teak is a highly light-demanding, pioneer species. Teak is therefore planted on 3 x 3m spacing, allowing the trees the room they require. Young plants grow quickly and even young trees cast a very dense shade. For the first few years, good weed control is important, especially of grasses.
Teak is widely grown in Ghana by smallholders and is known to thrive under local conditions. Teak is planted by the Company in Ghana.
Caribbean Pine is planted widely throughout the Asian, American and African tropics, being a fast-growing and versatile tree for lowland tropical plantations. It adapts to a wide range of sites and can achieve high growth rates with good silviculture. Like Eucalyptus, Pine poles are widely used in West Africa for electricity transmission poles, most of which are currently imported.
The Company aims to conduct planting trials in 2013 to assess the commercial potential of this species.
Cedrelaodorata is the most commercially important and widely distributed species of the genus Cedrela. A hardwood species with aromatic timber that is in high demand due to its natural resistance and durability, it is most commonly sought as a source of timber for high quality furniture construction. Cedrela heartwood contains an aromatic and insect-repelling resin that is the source of its popular name, Spanish-cedar. The wood works easily and makes excellent plywood and veneer.
Cedrela is generally grown on a similar spacing to teak. Miro Forestry plants on a 3x3m spacing to provide plenty of light to the trees in their early years. Good weed control is important.
The Company's land in Ghana is well suited to growing Cedrela and the Company has planted the species in the past.
A hardwood locally known as "beechwood" or "white teak", Gmelina is a fast-growing hardwood species that produces a very steady timber that is resistant to decay and termites. The tree prefers fertile, moist locations with well-drained soil, and is ideally suitable for wood chip biomass.
Acacia mangium is one of the major fast-growing species used in plantation forestry programmes throughout the humid tropics. Due to its rapid growth and tolerance of poorer soils, it is playing an important role in efforts to sustain a commercial supply of sustainably grown timber. The timber is versatile, being used for furniture, cabinets, flooring, particleboard, plywood, veneers, pulp and pole production.