This material vital for the furniture industry in Malaysia, and to a lesser extent in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam, is not grown for wood. Latex is the main reason for growing these trees and the demand and price for Rubber has taken a hit in the current global economy. Rubber trees become productive at 7 years and tail off from 25 to 30 years. Trees are cut depending on the current price of rubber, and then the choice is re-plant with rubber or palm oil, which both can grow on similar soils. Cutting trees may now increase to take advantage of strong demand for palm oil and that will have a short term improvement in supplies of Rubberwood. Logic would suggest that thereafter, within a few years, supplies will diminish and prices may increase. Meanwhile China is seeing increasing demand for Rubberwood and Asia is using more American Tulipwood with its higher yield and lower processing costs for furniture.
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