Talking Trees

A Blog by John Halkett

Category: Wood products

From primitive rafts to speedy bombers

Bulsa Plantation

The world’s lightest hardwood continues to be widely grown. Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale) is a large, fast-growing tree native from southern Mexico to southern Brazil, but can now be found in many other countries, including Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Solomon Islands.

Balsa trees can establish themselves in forest clearings or on abandoned agricultural fields and grow extremely rapidly. Their speed of growth accounts for the lightness of the wood, which has a lower density

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More than just wine bottle stoppers

Harvesting Cork Trees

Cork oak, Quercus suber a medium-sized, evergreen tree is the primary source of cork for wine bottle stoppers and other uses. It is native to southwest Europe and northwest Africa. It grows to up to 20 metres, although it is typically more stunted in its native environment.

Cork oaks commonly live more than 200 years. Cork harvesting is done entirely without machinery. The European cork industry produces 340,000 tonnes of cork a year, with a value of €1.5 billion and employs 30,000 people.

The

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Rubber … from the Spanish Court to pneumatic tyres

Tapping a rubber tree

Rubber trees (Hevea bransiliensis) are tall deciduous trees growing to a height of up to 45 metres in the wild, but cultivated trees are usually much smaller because drawing off latex restricts growth. The inner bark oozes latex when damaged.

Native to the Amazon and Orinoco river basins of Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, rubber trees where originally called caoutchouc, from the indigenous cauchy, or ‘weeping wood’. The rubber tree is a member of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge) family. Its

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New Book Now Available

Book Cover

My sixth book: By the light of the Sun: Trees, wood, photosynthesis and climate change has now been published. The mission of this book is to detail how to better harness the power of the products of photosynthesis to offset adverse climate change. Specifically this book asserts that trees and forests, plus wood products, will be even more important in assisting to tackle climate change, and in contributing to a sustainable energy and carbon neutral future. This book details how

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Jungle book now available

Dr Lyndall Bull, director, Forestry Tasmania, and Cr Christine Sindt, Latrobe City, Victoria, congratulate John Halkett at the book launch at the Melbourne Outlook and Insights Conference.

Billed as the Book of the Month for September Jungle Jive: Sustaining the forests of Southeast Asia takes a constructive look at jungle conservation, arguing that implementing economic measures that value jungle trees is the way to sustain them and their biological values. The central thesis of the book is the need to inject a dose of economic realism into a subject that has been long on superlatives and emotion, but short on commercial reality. The book sets out an argument for that in

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Radiata pine – ‘super wood’ of the 21st century

Radiata pine now one of the major plantation trees across temperate regions of the Southern Hemisphere and the basis of substantial forest industries.

Pine plantations began to be established in Australia from the 1870s as insurance against diminishing supplies of timber from native forests. Early attempts to find suitable pine plantation species for Australian conditions gave rise to planting trials using a wide variety of species. Pines from north and central America, Europe and the Mediterranean, from the Himalayas and Eastern Asia were all tried.

While several showed promise, the most successful was Monterey or radiata pine. This species

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Feedback on correspondence

Harvesting radiata pine – blog coming soon.

We have had an issue with the posting of comments directly on the blog site – corrected now. That aside, I have received some interesting emails and even a positive, pleasant comment from the Federal Government Department of Apiculture and Water Resources – so thanks.

Roger Underwood from Western Australia likes the blog and sent me an article advocating the planting of northern hemisphere deciduous trees in bushfire-prone areas of WA. His article also provides a really interesting commentary

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