Agripedia

Teak Cultivation and Market Analysis

Hitul Awasthi
Hitul Awasthi

Introduction  

Teak (Tectona grandis) is one of the most important hardwood timber trees of India and is distributed naturally in the peninsular region below 24oN latitude. Teak forests are found in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh (small extent), Gujarat, Orissa, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Manipur. The species is indigenous to India and the South-east Asian region.  

Teak is a deciduous tree and can attain a height of more than 30 m.  Young leaves are red in colour but become dark green at maturity.  Inflorescence is large, flowers are white in colour, producing sticky pollens for cross pollination, and become inflated at maturity. The flowers appear from June to September and fruits ripen from November to January. Teak sheds leaves from November to January. 

Importance of Teak 

Moderate weight, appropriate strength, dimensional stability and durability, easy workability and finishing qualities, makes teakwood the best timber for the manufacture of door, window frames and shutters, wagon and carriage, furniture, cabinets, ships, agricultural implements, decorative flooring and wall panelling.  

Leaves are used in indigenous medicine and their extract indicates complete inhibition of Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Flowers are considered useful against diseases like biliousness, bronchitis and urinary discharge. The leaves contain yellow and red dyes, which are recommended for dyeing of silk, wool and cotton. The bark is regarded as an astringent and considered useful in bronchitis. 

COVID-19 impacts on Teakwood development 

World Teak Conference is a world-class event for exchange of knowledge and experience on technological innovations in teak management and trade. But, due to COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of the 4th World Teak Conference 2020 (WTC 2020) decided to postpone the conference to August 23-26, 2021 in Accra, Ghana. The event will still take place with the same programme in the same venue, the change is only in the dates.  

Trade  

In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the trade of teakwood. In Europe, teak is still highly valued and continues to have a great demand, provided it’s legal and sustainable origin is verified. To realize fast growth and high yields from plantations, emphasis should be on use of improved planting stock and timely implementation of silvicultural treatments as teak species, does not tolerate competition and are site specific. 

The increased trade volume of teakwood necessitated the use of systematic approach for monitoring supply chain. Thus, from 1st January, 2022, the international trade in teakwood will be recorded in Harmonized System nomenclature 2022 (HS 2022) Edition. HS 2022 will be used for the uniform classification of goods traded internationally all over the world. Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO), the HS system aims to facilitate collection of customs tariff and international trade data. With these innovations in the teakwood trade, it is sure to see a great emphasis on policy, for development of teak sector in near future.  

The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) promotes sustainable management and conservation of tropical forests and the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed and legally harvested forests. It develops policy guidelines and norms to encourage sustainable forest management (SFM) and sustainable tropical timber industries and trade. 

Marketing

Quality timber, good wood working, finishing qualities, most appealing grain, texture and colour makes teakwood very valuable and increases it’s use for furniture, carving, cabinet making, door and window making. It has been extensively used for decking, deck houses, rails, bulwarks, hatches, weather doors and planking.  

The huge teak trees from Western Ghats region (high rain fall range) used for structural needs like ship and boat building, construction and bridge building. Teak from Central Indian region is known for colour, texture and grains preferred for furniture and aesthetic needs. Teak wood of Godavari valley in Andhra Pradesh is used for furniture and cabinet making for its ornamental figuring. Teak wood markets and depots are available in all teak growing states in India. 

Role of Forest based industries in tree plantations  

Forest based industries enjoyed high profitability because most of these were getting raw materials at subsidized prices, which resulted in non-sustainable use of forest stocks. But,due to increase in demand and restrictions on harvesting in natural forests. The forest-based industries started plantations on private lands with the collaboration of farmers to whom they provide financial and technical assistance. Forest-based industries have also approached the government for leasing of degraded forest lands for plantations to meet their raw material requirements.  

The National Forest Policy of 1988 lays down that: “As far as possible, a forest-based industry should raise raw material needed for meeting its own requirement by establishing a direct relationship between the factory and the individuals who can grow the raw material”. Industries like Western India Match Company Ltd (WIMCO), ITC, Bhadrachalam Paper Mills and Ballarpur Industries Ltd, have entered into arrangements with farmers to meet their raw material requirements. Several entrepreneurs encouraged people to invest in tree plantations with the goal of realizing great profits from the sale of tree produce.  

Among housing- and furniture-grade timbers in India, teak wood constitutes the premium class. Even though India is one of the biggest producers of teak in the world, a large amount of timber is imported to meet the internal demand of the plywood and veneer industry. Teak plantations have become important to help fill the gap between demand and supply of teak wood.  

Policy recommendations by Lao PDR  

The workshop, “Lao Teak Forum: Sustainable Teak Value Chains for Sustainable Local Development” was convened on 19–20 February 2020 at Vientiane capital.  

Dr. Hwan-ok MA, ITTO Project Manager said that smallholder teak plantations have the potential to be a driver of sustainable development in the lower Mekong by improving the livelihoods and landscapes of rural communities. This will be crucial for tapping into high-value markets, such as in Europe.  

The Forum participants noted that if smallholder farmer receives technical knowhow, high-quality planting material at lower cost and a modest financial incentives under secured land tenure and supportive policies, teak plantations can be well established for their sustainable livelihoods. 

Major Constrains in Teak Cultivation in India (by Khandagale et. al., 2012)– 

  • High prices of fertilizers and plant protection chemicals

  • Non-availability of loan and skilled-labour for planting

  • Difficulty in gathering information about teak plantation and permission about felling

Silvicultural operations in teak plantations  

Nursery raising 

Germination of teak is often poor due to dormancy. Pre - treatment of the seeds by alternate wetting and drying of the seed for a w eek is required to break the dormancy before sowing.  

The seeds were sown in the raised nursery beds (10 x 1 x 0.3 m) prepared with soil and sand mixture. Watered regularly and covered with coconut leaf or paddy straw. Germination starts 10 to 15 days after sowing and continues up to 35 to 45 days. Remove the covering, once the seed started germinating. The seedlings can be transplanted to polythene bags or it can be maintained in the nursery beds for 10 to 12 months for preparation of stumps. 

Site selection–  

Ascertain the suitability of a given site for teak, because teak will only thrive if planted on the correct site. A slight variation in the growth conditions can result in a huge variation in yields.  

Soil 

Deep, well-drained alluvial soils, fairly moist, warm, tropical climate with pH ranges from 6.5 to 7.5. Teak is susceptible to soil degradation, therefore plantations should be developed on undulating and relatively flat sites, any slopes greater than 12o should be avoided.  

Climate

Grows in places where rainfall range between 800-2500 mm and upto altitude of about 1,200 m amsl. Can withstand temperature ranging from 13-44oC. 

Light

A high light intensity, between 75 and 100% of the full sunlight is required for better growth and development. 

Drainage and irrigation 

Teak is very sensitive to poor drainage, so irrigation should be applied during stress period to boost the growth.  

Pre-plant operations 

Land should be thoroughly cleaned and well prepared with bush clearing and burning to reduce the level of the fuel load within the site. Lining out and pitting should start well in advance before the onset of rains. In India, a spacing of 2 x 2 m with an initial planting density of 2,500 tress/ha is practiced. Quality pits (25 cm long by 25cm wide by 25 cm deep) will allow seedlings to establish a proper rooting system that ensures survival. 

Teak can also be raised along with agricultural crops at a spacing of 4m x 4m or 5m x 5m. For this 45 x 45 x 45 cm sizes pit should be filled with the mixture of FYM, Fertilizers and soil.   

Planting operation 

Select good quality clonal plants or seedlings for planting. Seed production areas (SPA) are established by converting the best natural stand or plantation by removing the inferior trees, and allowing to remain only good trees to produce quality seeds for raising plantations. It functions as an interim measure till the seed orchards produce seed. 

Gap filling 

Should be done within the same rainy season, and during procurement of seedlings, an extra 20% should be reserved for this operation. If mortality is significant, then farmer should opt for replanting the field. 

Weeding 

Weeds or any other species will have negative impacts on its growth. Thus, managing weeds is a very important inter-cultural operation in teak plantations. Combination of chemical and manual weeding operations can be carried out for weed control. 

Pruning and Thinning 

Pruning should be carried out during active growing season. All epicormes and branches should be moved 6 m inside during pruning, and any debris around the trees should be removed to protect trees from fires. Cuts should be kept clean, to avoid disease incidence.  

Thinning should be carried out to prevent competition among the trees. All forking and poorly developed crowns and stems should be removed, to create more space for growth.   

Protection and management 

Forest fire management should be planned, with a clear strategy for monitoring and suppression. 

In India about 300 species of insects have so far been reported to be associated with teak. Teak defoliator (Hyblaea puera and Eutectona machaeralis) cause extensive damage to young plantations. Root rot due to Polyporous zonalis is also common in the plantation. Pink disease fungus causes cankers and bark flaking. Powdery mildew caused by Olivea tectonae & Uncinula tectonae leads to premature defoliation. 

Fresh leaf extracts of Azadirachta indica were found to be most effective against teak skeletonizer. 

Harvesting 

First quality teak yields at 20 years of age, when the average diameter is 27.2 cm and average height is 23.2m.  

Measures to improve productivity in Teak plantation 

  • Use high yielding clones

  • Use genetically superior seeds

  • Use Hybrids

  • Select good plantation site

  • Proper silvicultural practices

Plus Tree Selection 

Plus tree is a superior phenotype selected and further deployed in breeding programme for collection of improved seeds. The selected Plus trees are felled and coppice shoots used for multiplication. 

India has a vast genetic resource of teak. A National Teak Germplasm bank has been established at Chandrapur in Maharashtra for ex-situ conservation of genetic diversity of Teak in India. 

Tree based farming in India (source: PIB) 

India is the first nation in the world to adopt National Agroforestry Policy (NAP) at World Agroforesty Congress held at Delhi in 2014. Agroforestry help produce food, fuel, fodder, timber, fertilizer and contributes to food, nutritional and ecological security. 

Under “Har Medh Par Pedh” scheme of GOI, agroforestry is being promoted for supplementing farm income, improve risk management and climate resilient agriculture. 

Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) has developed various Agroforestry models with Teak – 

1. Agri–silvicultural models –

Teak + Casuarinas with agricultural crops like maize, cotton, turmeric, tomato and chilly 

2. Agri-silvi-horticulture models –

Teak + coconut with agricultural crops like turmeric, vegetables, maize and cotton 

 

Like this article?

Hey! I am Hitul Awasthi. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters