Explore rubberwood - one of the most significant domestic raw materials for Vietnam's wood industry. Embrace a greener future for Vietnam's forestry sector by joining Rockhill Asia and WWF in the FSC Bottleneck Initiative, advocating responsible practices and sustainable growth.
Vietnam is a country known for its diverse natural resources and rich cultural heritage. Among its treasures is the versatile and eco-friendly material called rubber wood. Rubber wood is a versatile and sustainable material that is derived from the Pará rubber tree. Rubber trees are planted into industrial forests with an area of hundreds of thousands of hectares and concentrated mainly in Southern Vietnam, accounting for 71% of the country’s rubber plantation area.
This article will explore the significance of rubber wood in Vietnam, its various applications, and its role in promoting environmentally conscious practices.
1. ABOUT THE RUBBER TREE & ITS LIFE CYCLE/ORIGIN
Rubberwood, the scientific name of which is Hevea brasiliensis, is a type of tree that originates from the Amazon rainforest. Rubberwood is commonly harvested for its timber after it ceases to produce latex. This makes it an economically valuable tree, as it can be used for both latex extraction and timber production.
Rubber trees consume oxygen and release carbon dioxide during their growth, making it unsuitable for prolonged habitation by other living organisms in rubber plantations. In Vietnam, rubber trees can grow to heights exceeding 30 meters. After approximately five years of growth, latex harvesting becomes feasible. The standard latex collection cycle for a rubber tree spans up to 25 years.
2. CHARACTERISTICS & PROPERTIES OF RUBBER WOOD
Rubberwood possesses distinctive characteristics that make it a favored choice in various industries. One of the necessary parameters to identify rubberwood is the density of the wood. The density of rubberwood is in the range of 560-640 (kg/m3 at 16% MC). And the average weight of rubberwood is 560-640 kg/m3 (at 16% MC) with a hardness of 4350N. Its medium density and excellent dimensional stability contribute to its long-lasting nature, making it suitable for furniture and crafts.
Durability and strength: Rubberwood has a high strength and is extremely durable, so it is often used in furniture products that require high durability such as: flooring, beds, cabinets, tables, chairs, etc.
Variety of colors and patterns: Rubberwood has a quite diverse color and pattern, from dark brown to light yellow, with even, beautiful wood grain.
Easy to process: Thanks to its flexibility, rubberwood can be easily cut, drilled, and carved to create different details and shapes.
Affordable price: Rubberwood is considered to be one of the types of wood with an affordable price, especially its price is better compared to other types of wood.
Environmentally friendly: Rubberwood is also eco-friendly because it is sourced from mature rubber trees that have ceased latex production, promoting sustainable practices and reducing waste.
These remarkable characteristics make rubberwood a sought-after material for its strength, durability, and environmental benefits, for both locally in Vietnam and internationally.
3. APPLICATIONS IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES
Rubber Wood's remarkable versatility extends across various industries. In the furniture sector, it holds a dominant position due to its structural strength and aesthetic appeal, making it a preferred choice for crafting both indoor and outdoor furniture items that boast elegance and durability. Beyond furniture, the construction industry utilizes Rubber Wood for flooring, doors, and window frames, infusing spaces with a natural sense of warmth and charm. But the wonders of Rubber Wood extend even further, finding creative applications in crafts, toys, and musical instruments. Furthermore, its eco-friendly nature makes it an emerging choice for sustainable packaging and even renewable energy products.
4. COMPARING RUBBER WOOD WITH OTHER HARDWOOD SPECIES IN SUSTAINABILITY
When it comes to sustainability, Rubber Wood stands tall among hardwood species. Its source, the Pará rubber tree, boasts rapid growth and regenerative properties, making it a renewable resource. This reduces pressure on natural forests and preserves precious wildlife habitats. Moreover, compared to slow-growing hardwoods, Rubber Wood's cultivation has a lower environmental impact. An essential aspect of Rubber Wood's sustainability is its certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). This certification ensures that Rubber Wood is responsibly sourced and produced in a manner that aligns with eco-conscious business practices. The FSC certification guarantees that the rubber tree plantations adhere to strict environmental and social standards, promoting sustainable forestry management and supporting local communities.
5. THE CURRENT STATE OF RUBBER WOOD FORESTRY IN VIETNAM
Rubber Wood in Vietnam has attained a remarkable status within the wood processing sector. The country is the fifth-largest rubber planting area worldwide, occupying a vast expanse of 926,000 hectares as of 2020. In the complete production cycle of the rubber tree, wood is the end product, holding immense value within Vietnam's domestic supply chain. This valuable resource seamlessly caters to the diverse demands of the wood processing industry. With a clear and legitimate origin, Vietnam's rubber wood has emerged as a prominent player in the wood processing sector. In the year 2021, the turnover of wood and wood products made from rubber wood impressively soared to nearly US$ 2.4 billion, demonstrating a great potential for further growth in the near future. In a report on the associated consumption of rubber wood by smallholders, conducted by Forest Trends in collaboration with the Vietnam Rubber Research Institute and the Vietnam Rubber Association (2021), rubber wood is recognized as one of the most significant domestic raw materials for Vietnam's wood industry. Its exceptional quality, multipurpose nature and consistent supply contribute to its esteemed status as a leading sustainable choice for various applications.
6. EXPORT & DOMESTIC CONSUMPTION OF RUBBER WOOD
Vietnam ranked third globally in natural rubberwood export, with over 80% of rubberwood production is exported. Therefore, this is considered as a strong industry of Vietnam. Rubber is grown in the Southeast accounts for 71% of the country’s production, and concentrated in Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, and Tay Ninh. Remarkably, 87% of harvested rubber wood is utilized in producing export products, while the remaining is used in the domestic production sector. This growing trend speaks volumes about the recognition and appreciation of rubber wood's worth both within and beyond Vietnam's borders. Vietnam's prowess in the rubber wood sector extends to over 100 global markets. In 2019, the United States, Japan, South Korea, and Canada emerged as the leading markets, collectively accounting for 90.9% of Vietnam's total export turnover of rubber wood products. The United States, in particular, took the lead with an impressive 71.9% share, amounting to more than US$ 1.3 billion. On the other hand, South Korea, China, Japan, the US and Belgium are 5 biggest import markets of Vietnam’s rubber wood materials, accounted for 88.1% of the total export turnover in 2019, of which South Korea imported much, accounted for 72.9%.
7. PROMOTING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE WITH RUBBER WOOD
Embracing Rubber Wood and endorsing responsible practices is a collective effort. In our pursuit of a sustainable future with Rubber Wood, Rockhill Asia collaborates with WWF in the FSC Bottleneck Initiative in Vietnam. We are dedicated to embracing Rubber Wood and advocating responsible practices for a greener future in the forestry sector. By encouraging wider adoption of FSC-certified Rubber Wood, we aim to safeguard the environment and support local communities and small-scale rubber plantations. Collaboration between stakeholders drives us towards a more environmentally friendly and socially responsible wood processing industry. Let's support local communities and small-scale rubber plantations, empowering them to contribute to sustainable growth.
Rubberwood emerges as a true gem within Vietnam's natural resources, showcasing its remarkable versatility, durability, and eco-friendliness. Its applications across various industries and sustainability compared to other hardwoods underscore its value as an environmentally conscious choice. Through Rockhill Asia's collaboration with WWF in the FSC Bottleneck Initiative, we encourage wider adoption of FSC-certified rubber wood, supporting local communities and fostering eco-friendly practices. Embracing rubber wood and advocating responsible practices, we can pave the way towards a brighter, greener, and more sustainable future for Vietnam's forestry landscape.
Contact us today to learn more about our procurement outsourcing services and how we can help your business efficiently source high-quality products across Asia.
Learn more about our Procurement Outsourcing Services.
Check out our LinkedIn.