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Deforestation in Indonesia:
In an article in Newsday, Edward A. Gargan, says that in Bangsri, Indonesia has the last great teakwood forests. The wood ends up in places like Abdul Jambari's garden furniture workshop. For about $100, Jambari's chair will sit on a patio or deck somewhere in the United States or Europe. But that chair and the 4,000 others that are part of Jambari's latest export shipment, have left behind a swath of utter devastation, one of thousands that afflict this archipelago and spell the end of the majestic forests that once blanketed Indonesia.

Their disappearance also means the extinction of innumerable animal and plant species indigenous to this country. One-tenth of the tropical forests are located in Indonesia. In an unpublished report, the World Bank found that all the lowland forests in one of Indonesia's largest islands, Sumatra, will be extinct this decade, and that unless the government acts immediately to stop rampant illegal logging, "the only extensive forests that will remain in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Selawesi in the second decade of the new millennium will be the low-stature forests of the mountains."

Deforestation in Costa Rica:
Here in Costa Rica, people have denuded the forests to provide pastureland for cattle ranching. Pristine forests fell to make way for a world-wide demand for beef. Since the end of World War II, approximately 80% of the forests of Costa Rica have disappeared. Many people considered bananas or coffee, or even sugar cane, as the prime exports of Costa Rica. Sadly, the fact became apparent that top soil, the very life source to Costa Rica's agriculture, was becoming the prime export. Down from the denuded hills into the streams and out to the oceans, top soil was disappearing from the land mass, year after year. The deforestation of tropical rain forests is a threat to life worldwide. Deforestation has profound effects on global climate and causes the extinction of thousands of species annually. Stopping deforestation in the tropics has become an international movement and has promoted the search for ways to reverse its effects.

Reforestation in Costa Rica:
The Costa Rican government, in a typically pragmatic approach to the problem, has offered excellent incentives for those interested parties who wish to assist in the reversal of the denuding of the country. The Forestry Law of Costa Rica, article #70, recognizes Investor Status, on a reforestation project, to any person who invests a minimum amount of US$100,000.00 to apply for "Permanent Resident Investor Status" in Costa Rica.

The individual must be present in Costa Rica for a minimum of one day each year to have their 'Cedula' (ID card) stamped, but the investor has the right to live and work in Costa Rica. The spouse and any children under the age of 18 have the right to live in Costa Rica (as well as children under age 25 if full time students and living with cedula holder). In addition it is granting tax free returns of dividends.

It is a real win-win situation. The hills that covered with teak today were bare 10 years ago. Now they are green again growing a profit-crop for everybody.

Why Teak
Despite all of the above positive facts Teak reforestation continues to suffer a bad reputation in certain un-informed circles. The bad reputation can be traced to the early and mid 1970's when promoters were projecting unrealistic growth projections coupled with unrealistic prices. In an article of Dr. Raymond Keogh in Teak he says: "Growth rates which exceed an average of twenty cubic metres per hectare per year in twenty years are unlikely to be encountered".

But Teak has has been particularly favored as the type of tree to use in plantations for various reasons: it grows fast, it has a world wide reputation as a species, and few if any natural enemies. Teak does not support combustion (won't burn) and there is rapid growth in demand and price.

Costa Rica has a number of conditions that lend itself to the growing of teak such as the perfect climate with a pronounced dry season and a reliable rainy season which are both required for the growth of ideal teak, an excellent labor force, excellent Forestry Engineers who are all Government qualified, stable Government which ensures the viability of the growth. The perfect plantation sites for teak reforestation are found on those soils worn out by overgrazing cattle. Land and soil which has suffered many years of constant use and possible abuse and can no longer support a walking crop lends itself perfectly to site preparation for long term teak growing.

No longer can a person consider the merits of 100 year old teak versus plantation teak. Doing so would be a case of comparing the unobtainable to the available. If you want to get more information, you can find it under this direction:

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