Philippine Mahogany Tree

Mahogany is a term used to refer to different types of tree in the Philippines. The popular mahogany commonly seen in the Philippines is grown for its fast growth and hard wood. The scientific name of the introduced mahogany is Swietenia macrophylla. The common mahogany tree brought during American occupation of the Philippine islands. The species is indigenous from the South American continent and Mexico . It is also called big-leaf mahogany, West Indian mahogany, Honduran mahogany, and Honduras mahogany. Considered as a hard wood, the plant belongs to Meliaceae family which yields genuine mahogany timber and will be covered by our production guide review.

The tree has many applications. It can be cultivated and grown for as a source of genuine mahogany wood and can be cut into timber. The wood has the following applications and use:

1. Wood can be used for paneling
2. Making furniture
3. Boats and musical instruments

It may also be grown as a wind-breaker. The typhoons that are frequently affecting many communities experience strong winds. This in turn causes the roof of light-made material houses to be blown away or damaged. Planting trees may break wind which may avoid further damage to houses. The planting of the mahogany is promoted by government and non-government private groups for reforestation efforts. The fast growth of the tree and its adaption to the Philippine climate made it a good candidate tree to be grown for reforestation. The tree reproduces by seeds readily in natural environment and propagation is easy. Propagation is done by growing the seedlings in black plastic bags that can be transplanted when the tree is 0.5 to 1 meter in height.

Mahogany is also used as a name to refer to the indigenous or locally growing tree in the Philippines. Locals use the term Philippine mahogany to refer to Toona tree or redcedar tree. The scientific name of local Philippine mahogany is Toona ciliata. The native mahogany do not have any impact to other native trees in the forest. However, claims shows that American mahogany grows well on Philippine soil but produces acidic soils that affect other native trees during the growth of the introduced mahogany tree.

Philippine Mahogany Plantation

The mahogany tree can be planted in cluster for the purpose of timber. There has been a growth of cultivation of mahogany in the Philippines for wood which is permitted as long as the trees are planted in private property and cultivated for the purpose of wood timber. Regulatory agencies from the government may look into the harvesting and transportation of timbers. The following sections will walk through the Philippine regulatory aspect of tree plantation.

Cutting trees that needs DENR permits fall under these circumstance:
1. Cutting permits are only issued on premium hardwood species, natural grown trees, all trees within the riverbanks, and within tenured timberland areas – DENR Department Administrative Order 79 series of 1990.

Declaring your property as a Tree plantation is easy which will provide advantage as listed below:

1. Obtaining clearances and permits to harvest and transport timber products from the tree plantation is easier.
2. Logistics and transport of timber would be eased under DENR Memorandum Circular 97-09.
3. Good exposure to potential buyers through DENR database information system.
4. Exemption from any forest fees or environmental charges by being acknowledged by DENR as a private tree plantation owner.

Obtaining tree plantation registration is done by completing the requirements which include: a letter of request, title or tax declaration, and documentation by collecting pictures of the tree plantation. Issuance of the Certificate of Tree Plantation Ownership is outlined under DENR Memorandum circular 1999-20. The process is shown from this link.

Tree plantation for mahogany will require considerable land area capital for the trees to grow. The maturity of the trees will take 50- 60 years for commercial harvesting. It will take considerable time to reap the benefits, hence the business may be turned over to next generations. Acqquiring land can be done from the cheapest sources to maximize potential profit.

Mahogany tree can be densely populated on a given area. As a general planting advise, 2.5 square meter area will be allocated per mahogany tree.  For example in a 1 hectare land (10,000 square meter), 4,000 Mahogany trees can be planted.

Land Area
(in hectare)
No. of Mahogany Trees
0.5 2000
1 4000
2 8000
4 16000
5 20000
10 40000
20 80000

Table 1 : Land area and corresponding number of mahogany trees to be grown

Philippine Mahogany Price

The 2008 price is around Php 85.00 per board feet. The board or tabla is already cut or sawed by saw mill operators. Once done, it is ready for its application.
Board feet is computed by using the formula below, where T is thickness, W is width and L as length. T is in inches, W is in inches, and L is in feet.

By Kyle

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