Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Value addition to Teak plantations

Abstract of a Seminar presentation
Hasini de Alwis

Teak (Tectona grandis) is one of the most premier luxury hardwood timbers in the world. It is native to the Indian-Burmese floristic region and found naturally in India, Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. It was introduced to Sri Lanka due to high quality wood by a Dutchman in 1680. Taungya method and participatory forest projects were two popular methods in establishing Teak Plantations at the beginning. At present teak plantations are maintained on state owned lands, private lands or as farmer woodlots. According to the Sri Lanka Forest Department, the present extent of teak plantation is approximately 45,000 ha which is distributed mainly in dry and low intermediate zones.

Value addition is a concept which an additional value is added to the product or service that has above the baseline. Teak Plantations are mainly managed for commercial purposes. Therefore the private plantation companies who export their timber have more concern about this concept.

Replacing lumber with reconstitute panels, polishing the furniture products, manufacturing timber products according to customer’s requirement, practicing seasoning methods and pre-treatment methods, obtaining certain forest certifications will add values to the end product.

Value additions can be done by increasing tree growth and timber quality of Teak plantations. Genetically improved seeds can be taken from clonal seed orchards, seed production areas.

Tissue culture to develop large scale uniform superior plants can also be practiced. Good silvicultural practices like proper spacing, pruning, weeding, thinning, pest and disease control can be done to produce high quality timber. Teak is grown as mixtures with Jak, Margosa, Eucalypts and Mahogany. Practicing agroforestry systems will provide additional incomes from agri crops and by doing so, the land is maximally utilised. Applications of organic fertilizer, fire management are some eco-friendly forestry practices can add values to the plantation.

Plantations are maintained by using the local labor. Therefore, it is desirable to maintain the structure of the local community in a way that provides a steady supply of reliable workers.

In Sri Lankan context, value additions to the plantation are not practicing properly. Advance silvicultural practices, promoting agroforestry systems, adopting appropriate new technologies and obtaining forest management certifications to the end products are recommended for the teak plantations to add values so that a better price and a better reputation can be obtained.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Value addition to Eucalypt plantations

Abstract of a Seminar presentation
Ama Wickramarachchi

Eucalyptus is a native tree to Australia which is now widespread across the world because of its fast growing rates and adoptability to wide range of geographical area from lower altitudes to higher altitudes. There are about 700 Eucalyptus species recorded in the world. It was introduced to Sri Lanka in late 1800s as a fuel wood to the upcountry households and tea industry and later different species were introduced to dry, wet and intermediate zones of the country.

Eucalyptus plantations receive criticisms due to its effect on soil fertility and hydrology. However, most of these criticisms have now been addressed by value additions to those plantations as well as to the end-products through sustainable management which optimizes economic, environmental and social benefits of the plantations.

Good silvicultural practices, planting superior clones of hybrids and genetically modified high yielding, disease-free, non-splitting trees obtained via vegetative propagations and field trials and mixed plantations would improve timber quality and quantity within the plantation. Practicing agroforestry and promoting related industries such as beekeeping, extraction of Eucalyptus oils and Eucalyptus dyes would generate additional income to the rural communities. At the same time it maximises the landuse of the area. Adding organic fertilisers, managing plantations for longer rotational periods, fire management and trench management are some of the eco-friendly management practices that add values to the plantations.

Timber seasoning, pre-treatments, designs used in furniture manufacturing and forest certifications will add value to the end product.

When comes to local context, it is very limited that Sri Lanka follows any value additions at the plantation level. Therefore agroforestry, promoting related industries, advanced silvicultural techniques, research and development and obtaining forest certification can be recommended to follow in order to add value to the plantation.

At the end-product level, Sri Lanka has to practice more advanced pre-treatment methods and designs in furniture manufacturing have to be improved in accordance with the current trends. Forest certification to the end-product would surely add a more value at the market level, specially in international markets. Moreover, it is becoming a must to compete in most of the export markets. Therefore Sri Lankan manufactures need to concern at least in obtaining this certifications to the eucalypt plantations and its products.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Current status of forest certification in Sri Lanka

Abstract of a Seminar presentation
Lanka Rathnayake

“Forest certification is the process of inspecting particular woodlands to verify if they are being managed according to an agreed set of standards’

There are several certification systems in the world. The forest stewardship council certification is one of them in Sri Lanka. The Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization founded in 1993 to support environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial & economically viable management of the world’s forests”. There are ten Forest Stewardship principles. It accredits certification bodies. It is a system for independent forest certification. It has introduced an international labelling scheme.

Center for the promotion of imports from developing countries has problems to promote non Forest Stewardship Council certified products. Sri Lanka will lose market share if it is not obtained. With Forest Certification new markets can be found, a higher price will be paid (around 3%) and forests will be saved for future generations. So, the main objective of this certification system is to establish a healthy and steady export environment for the wood processing industry of Sri Lanka.

There are several certification systems in forest certification as Forest Management Certification, Chain of Custody Certification and group certification. Control Union, SGS, SCS are the current accreditation bodies in Sri Lanka. Instead of national Forest Stewardship Council standards currently interring standard have been developed using generic standards in Sri Lanka.

There are thirty five Forest Stewardship Council certification holders in Sri Lanka. Forest Stewardship Council certified forest area in Sri Lanka is 31,657 ha. Fourteen Forest Stewardship Council Chain of custody certificates have been issued.

For Forest Management/Chain of Custody certification Kotagala plantation, Agarapathana plantation, Elpitiya plantation, and Kahawatta plantation are at final stage of inspection. Also two teak projects, one mahogany project and coconut project have been proposed for Forest Stewardship Council certification. To obtain Chain of Custody certification two printing companies are also proposed.

Current status of forest certification in Sri Lanka is at considerable level when comparing with other countries. At present, Forest Stewardship Council certification is confined mainly to the private sector in Sri Lanka. Demand for FSC certified products are also increasing. Group certification should be encouraged to fulfill the demand.