Quality and uses of timber from five forest species suited to plantation management and tested in French Guiana.
Forest plantation trials have been conducted in French Guiana since the early 1960s with over 138 tree species (70 native and 68 exotic). A recent study on their productivity in plantations (ForesTreeCulture project, 2013-2015) showed the high potential of three native species (Simarouba amara Aubl., Vochysia tomentosa (G. Mey.) DC., Bagassa guianensis (Aubl.)) and one West African species (Tarrietia utilis Sprague), all of which produced timber volumes in excess of 20 m3/ha/year. However, the properties of these as commercial species are known only from trees that have grown in their natural forest environment. This article describes the properties of their timber when produced in plantation conditions - density, shrinkage, elasticity, angle of the grain, durability - and discusses the future potential and uses of each. A fourth species, Cordia alliodora ((Ruiz & Pavon) Oken), was also selected for study although it has not yet been planted in French Guiana. This species is native to French Guiana and well known across Latin America for its timber and high potential for growth in managed environments.