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Rescuing Mahogany Trees and Other Endangered Species

Actualizado: 4 ene 2022

If we tell you that the tree which Omar is showing us in the following picture is a mahogany, you might think that it’s a very young sample, maybe four or five... maybe ten years old. However, this famous hardwood tree is actually 40 years old.

For the mahogany tree to have its distinctive thick trunk, it has to be very old: maybe 200 or 300 years old. The fact that it’s a slow-growth tree is evident in the very origin of its Spanish name ‘caoba’: the word ‘tauba’ means ‘year’ in the Tupi language of an indigenous people from Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Bolivia; they used the highly visible rings on the trunks to mark the pass of time.

Unfortunately for the mahogany tree, its reddish wood has been prized for making luxury furniture, since colonial times. It’s native to the Americas and the variety that grows in Ecuador is the big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), which can be found from Mexico to the southern Brazilian Amazon. Despite the fact that it has been grown commercially for several decades now, its illegal extraction continues to be a serious problem throughout the region, as this logging is very destructive to the environment and has led this tree to be considered an endangered species.