||The Fijian Mahogany
Plantations: A Unique Resource
The Mahogany plantations in Fiji are a unique resource. Approximately 40 years old, they were first planted by the British immediately after World War 2. The seeds were brought from Belize and are true Swietenia macrophylla. There are over 40,000 hectares of plantations and nearly half of the plantations are mature.
The Mahogany has already received CITES clearance for export and the government
has begun the certification process with Smartwood/FSC (Forest Stewardship
The very first small cutting was done as a clear cut, with the intent to replant afterwards to check regrowth rates. However it was quickly seen that
selective logging was the way to go. Not only was selective logging providing a higher grade of recovery in the mill, it was better for the forest. The foresters discovered that the Mahogany was regenerating faster then anyone ever anticipated.
"Its like a weed," says Rusty Phillips, SFI's Logging Supervisor. "I've never seen anything like it. It grows up so fast and healthy and the second generation is going to be so much better then the first and the third even better then that."
"Look over there," he added, pointing to a patch of forest. "Look at all the different ages in that stand. You can see the original trees in a line, but look at the growth in between. Those originals are 40 years old, but then you have trees that are 20, 10, just a few year old. The Mahogany is seeding faster then we'll ever be able to cut."
SFI and government foresters are now developing specific low impact and selective logging techniques that are designed specifically for the Fijian plantations.
click here for more pictures of the forests.
And the key cornerstone of SFI's position on Mahogany production is that it must benefit the
landowners, producers and government equally. Please
read more about the local involvement here.