Satisfying International Timber Demand
Before World War I most tropical timber entering the world market came from countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean,
especially West Africa. Such hardwoods were useful in construction and the production of secondary wood products
such as furniture and paneling. Demand for Amazonian and southeast Asian timber was mostly limited to certain species
(mahogany, teak, ironwood) for specialty use.
The postwar reconstruction of Japan stimulated a surge in demand for southeast Asian timbers. This demand, coupled
with technological achievements like one man chainsaws, bulldozers, sturdier trucks, and outboard motors, resulted
in a sharp increase in logging in the Philippines and Malaysia. In the 1970s Indonesia joined the melee and market
share for southeast Asia climbed above 70% of world tropical timber exports.
In the 1990s, declining timber stocks have forced loggers to seek out relatively unexploited timber resources in
New Guinea, the Amazon, and Central Africa.
Continued: Economic Restructuring
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