Rubberwood explained: a sustainable alternative

Rubberwood explained: a sustainable alternative

Rubberwood explained: a sustainable alternative

Rubberwood is commercial wood

Commercial rubberwood is predominantly grown in plantations rather than forests. And that’s a good thing.

Let’s take a look at the life cycle of a rubber tree and how its wood ends up as a sustainable toy.

Establishment of Rubber Plantations

Rubberwood comes from rubber tree plantations, which are established specifically for rubber latex production. These plantations involve the cultivation of rubber trees in large-scale agricultural settings.

Tapping for Latex

Rubber trees are initially tapped for their latex, which is the primary commercial product. The latex is collected by making small incisions in the bark of the tree, allowing the latex to flow into collection cups. This tapping process is usually done on a regular basis, typically every few days.

End of Latex Production

After around 25 to 30 years, the latex production of rubber trees begins to decline significantly. At this stage, the trees are no longer economically viable for latex extraction, and they are generally removed from the plantation.

This short life cycle means that rubber trees are not an endangered species.

Compare this to the slow growth rate of tropical hardwoods, which, through overharvesting and illegal logging, can be depleted faster than they can naturally regenerate. This causes habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and potentially endangering certain species.

Utilization of Rubberwood

Once the rubber trees reach the end of their latex-producing life cycle, the harvested trees are then used for their wood, known as rubberwood.

Harvesting and Processing

The rubberwood trees are cut down, and the logs are transported to sawmills for processing. At the sawmills, the logs are converted into timber, which can be used for various applications, such as toys, furniture, flooring and other wood-based products.

Natural forest ecosystems are not damaged

It's important to note that the cultivation of rubber tree plantations for commercial purposes is distinct from natural forests. Rubberwood production is primarily focused on the economic utilization of the trees for both latex and wood, while natural forests are ecosystems with a diverse range of tree species and wildlife.

Rubberwood production can increase biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions. According to the World Wildlife Fund, rubber can and should be produced without clearing natural forests. When done responsibly, rubber production can increase biodiversity and carbon sequestration, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. This can have a positive impact on the environment and support sustainable practices.

Final word

Rubberwood is the sustainable and environmentally friendly choice for toys. Unlike the overharvesting and illegal logging often associated with tropical hardwoods, rubberwood production does not contribute to deforestation or habitat destruction.

By choosing rubberwood toys, you can support environmentally conscious and socially responsible practices while enjoying high-quality and durable wood toys.