Fascinating article by Stephanie Dyer in the February/March 2016 issue of Timber iQ about Kiaat, a widely used wood native to Africa.
Kiaat takes up to 80 years to mature, is nitrogen fixing and planted to combat soil erosion. According to Stephanie the harvesting of this precious resource is currently not taking place at a sustainable pace and the species is under threat. Large quantities are exported yearly out of Mozambique, Zambia and other African countries, although it is classified protected species in South Africa.
"Over exploitation of this useful multipurpose tree is endangering its natural populations. Current harvesting is not sustainable and has raised serious concerns regarding the long-term viability of the species. This has resulted in the tree being declared ‘Protected’ in South Africa under the National Forests Act No. 84 of 1998. Since 1998, harvesting of Kiaat in South Africa is only permitted under licence or exemption from the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Kiaat is also listed in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as ‘Lower Risk/Near Threatened.’"
Kiaat is widely used in construction, especially in wood flooring, paneling and furniture due to its aesthetic appeal and durability. This is where Bamboo comes in. If you look at the comparison image above you can see that our Bamboo flooring option is almost indistinguishable from the native Kiaat wood.
If you consider then the benefits that come with using the highly renewable resource, then it staggers the mind to think that we are using a resource that takes 80 years to mature when bamboo takes 5 to 7 years in comparison and can be harvested repeatedly. Added to that is the fact that bamboo is excellent in combating soil erosion and is naturally insect resistant.
Choosing a sustainable eco-friendly option is vital to our way of life and our planets way of life. We need to make choices that is good for the pocket AND the planet.
"Pterocarpus angolensis (African teak, wild teak, Afrikaans: Kiaat, Sotho: Morôtô, Tswana: Mokwa, Venda: Mutondo, Shona: Mukwa, Shona: Mubvamaropa, Zulu: Umvangazi) is a species of Pterocarpus native to southern Africa, in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zaire, Zimbabwe,and Zambia. It is a protected tree in South Africa. The name Kiaat, although Afrikaans, is sometimes used outside South Africa as well. In Zimbabwe, depending on what region you are in, it is known as Mukwa or Mubvamaropa." From Wikipedia