On World Soil Day, we’d like to celebrate the importance of ‘the skin of the earth’ as a critical component in the origins of Teakunique furniture from the sustainably managed plantations and calcium rich soils of Indonesia.
In our previous ‘From Seed to the South Downs’ post, which follow Teakunique’s path from teakwood plantations through to exceptionally made teak furniture, we introduced Perum Perhutani – the state-owned forest company responsible for the sustainable management and legal regulation of Indonesia’s teak industry. This time, we’re focusing on the teak plantations.
Each time we visit Indonesia (or even the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in London), we meet yet another representative from one of several NGO’s and associations, working closely with Perum Perhutani. They’re all equally committed to achieving a multitude of objectives, covering conservation, restoration, production, community, biodiversity, and soil fertility, to name a few! In November 2016, Indonesia advanced this commitment by becoming the first country to begin issuing the EU’s FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) licences, which has further enhanced Indonesian teak sustainability and legal credentials.
Here’s a snapshot of a teak plantations cycle… Once planted, a Tectona Grandis (teak trees) diameter growth rate is 1cm a year. Thinning out takes place 5 times in the first 20 years, then every 10 years thereafter. This retains soil fertility and establishes high value forests – both in volume and quality. After 40-80 years, harvesting begins with girdling. At this time, each tree is registered with the plantation name, tree number, and circumference (pictured) – these numbers are the core of Indonesia’s SVLK Chain of Custody monitoring system. The trees are left to dry for 1-2 years before being cut down, and the cycle begins again 6 months later! Once harvesting starts, local communities will use the land to plant crops. For anyone interested in reading more about teak forest management in Indonesia, we’d recommend this article.
In our next ‘From Seed to the South Downs’ post, we’ll share the next phase in the creation of our top-grade teak furniture. Until then, Happy World Soil Day!
Rachel and Victoria