A slow growing tropical tree genus native to Asia and the Pacific areas, Balau has been harvested for centuries, especially due to its durability and strength. Its colour can vary from a yellowish hue to dark red.
– The wood can be obtained sustainably, be that via a plantation or FSC certification, obtaining from these sources can allow the natural forests to recover from deforestation today and from the past. (ref)
– Hard, heavy, and strong, Balau is a durable wood that can be found at reasonable prices. (ref)
– The fact they are grown so far away means they will need to be transported to the West and UK, adding costs to both the client and the environment as more energy is used to transport them.
– Sourcing can be an issue, if not obtained by trusted sources it may be illegal timber. (ref)
– Whilst not all species of Balau are endangered, many are. (ref)
A tropical wood from Asia, Balau is a strong and durable wood, a good choice for gardens for the amount of time it will last. However, like all tropical woods, transporting the woods from a rainforest to a garden requires a lot of energy and fuel, and this can emit a lot of CO2 into the environment. If not sourced from a third-party certification board, the sourcing of Balau can be illegal. FSC certification is possible, from plantations or the forest. Local woods such as Oak or Cedar can be a more sustainable option for the garden, as rainforests are not destroyed and the wood will not need to travel as far.
It may be worth considering the fact that most UK gardens seem to be replaced within 20-30 years, be that through redesign or a new homeowner altering the garden. If a garden will be replaced in a short period of time, it may not be worth using longer-lasting materials that will not be able to live out their full potential, and a more sustainable, faster growing, and faster degrading wood may be applicable, such as a species of Pine.