Guide to Lesser Known Tropical Timber Species

Posted on November, 06 2013

The guide provides information on more than 50 lesser known timber species that are highly valuable but often overlooked.
The heavy exploitation of a few highly valuable commercial timber species such as mahogany, afrormosia, ramin and rosewood – due in major part to the insatiable demand from consumer markets – has meant that many of them are now vulnerable or threatened by commercial extinction. In order to make responsible forest management the norm over the long term, markets must be developed for lesser known timber species (LKTS). Many forest concessions in the tropics can contain over 100 different tree species, but their characteristics are simply not known and there is lack of knowledge about their uses and purposes.

WWF/GFTN's Guide to Lesser Known Tropical Timber Species helps fill this gap by providing more information on these valuable but often overlooked lesser known timber species. The guide provides details on more than 50 possible alternative species and their end uses, as well as information on GFTN participants supplying those species.

“Markets are hard to change, and to enable the market for LKTS, there is an urgent need to influence and educate buyers in consumer countries of the benefits of sourcing these alternative species,” said George White, Head of GFTN. “This unique guide is designed to encourage the use of LKTS and to ensure that the world’s most threatened timber species are not harvested into extinction."

Harvesting and sourcing a wider portfolio of species, including LKTS, can help build a healthy business case for forest managers and reduce reliance on a few species as the primary source of income. The use of LKTS, in combination with FSC certification and access to high value export markets, could help make responsible forest management a more viable alternative in many of WWF’s priority places.
WWF/GFTN Guide to Lesser Known Timber Species cover page