A tropical tree native to southern Asia, the wood is renown for its appearance, varying from a golden dark brown to a yellowish white, but also its hardwood properties and durability.
– A very durable and strong wood. (ref)
– Naturally resistant to decay, wood rot, and other organisms, (ref) along with the elements.
– It is possible to obtain FSC certified Teak. From these sources, the wood will do less damage to the world and be more sustainable.
– Long-lasting, potentially decades without much maintenance, (ref) this means that it will not need to be replaced anytime soon.
– Expensive and can be hard to source. (ref)
– Many species of Teak are now illegal to purchase due to over-harvesting. (ref)
– Transporting it to the UK takes a lot of energy, leaving a large carbon footprint. (ref) This, along with harvesting energy and potential kiln drying adds to its negative environmental impact. (ref)
– Countries like Myanmar have banned the logging of Teak to protect it, but that doesn’t stop illegal logging, as this meets the demand of the market. (ref)
– Teak is planted in plantations and other places in 36 countries, however, it is an invasive species, taking water but also the best agricultural land. Some countries also have bad sustainable management plans. (ref)
Teak is a strong and durable wood and it will last a long day in the garden. However, throughout the years Teak has been overharvested for years, leading to some countries banning Teak harvesting. This has not stopped illegal logging to meet the worldwide demand, however. Importing Teak also uses a lot of energy and creates a big carbon footprint, and this will contribute to enhanced climate change. Along with this, Teak can be seen as an invasive species when used in plantations, as they use a lot of water but also take the best agricultural land. Teak can be FSC certified which can provide good sustainable management plans for harvesting Teak. Oak and Cedar can be used as alternates to FSC Teak.
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.