Tuesday, March 5Food Security Matters

Apitong Tree: All You Need to Know

The Apitong tree, also known as the Philippine Mahogany, is one of the most sought-after trees in the timber industry. With its remarkable strength and durability, this forest giant has been used for various applications ranging from heavy-duty vehicle flooring to high-end furniture. But what makes it so expensive? Is planting Apitong profitable? And what are some of the alternatives available? In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at everything you need to know about this magnificent hardwood tree – from its description and characteristics to its conservation status and more!

Apitong Tree Description and Characteristics (scientific name)

The Apitong tree, scientifically known as the Dipterocarpus grandiflorus, is a towering hardwood tree native to Southeast Asia. It can grow up to 60 meters tall and 2 meters in diameter with a straight cylindrical trunk that is buttressed at the base. The bark of the Apitong tree is smooth and grayish-brown when young, but turns rough and dark brown or black as it ages.

Apitong – image credit DENR Twitter

One of its most distinguishing features is its large leaves which are lance-shaped with pointed tips. These leaves can reach up to 30cm long and are arranged alternately on branches that extend outwards from the main trunk. In addition, this species produces fragrant flowers that bloom during specific times of the year.

The wood of the Apitong tree is highly regarded for its strength and durability, making it ideal for use in heavy-duty applications such as truck decking, railroad ties, bridges, and flooring systems among others. The heartwood possesses natural oils that enhance resistance against decay-causing organisms like fungi or insects.

Apart from being an excellent timber source allowing various uses in the construction industry, Apitong trees also play an important role in maintaining ecological balance by providing habitats for many animal species inhabiting their forests.

Why Apitong is So Expensive

Apitong is one of the most expensive types of wood in the market today. Several factors contribute to its high price, including its scarcity and durability.

Firstly, Apitong trees are only found in certain regions of Southeast Asia and the Philippines. This limited distribution makes it more difficult to harvest, transport, and sell on a large scale.

Secondly, Apitong lumber has exceptional strength and resistance to decay. It is often used for heavy-duty applications such as truck trailer flooring or industrial platforms where other woods would not hold up well over time. This makes it a premium choice for those who need reliable materials.

There’s also an element of supply and demand at play; with fewer trees available for harvesting each year due to conservation efforts or deforestation concerns means that prices can be driven higher by competing buyers interested in this prized tropical hardwood tree species.

All these factors combined make Apitong one of the most expensive options when it comes to choosing lumber for your next project. However, if you’re looking for quality materials that will last long-term without sacrificing performance or aesthetic appeal then investing in this hardwood may be worthwhile.

Uses and Applications of Apitong Lumber

Apitong lumber is known for its exceptional strength and durability. Due to these properties, it has a wide range of applications in the construction and transportation industries.

One of the most common uses of Apitong lumber is as a flooring material in trucks and trailers. The wood’s strength makes it an ideal choice for heavy-duty vehicles that need to withstand constant wear and tear.

In addition, Apitong lumber is used for decking, bridges, railroad ties, and other outdoor structures that require resistance to moisture, decay, and insects. It can also be used for furniture making due to its attractive grain patterns.

Another application of Apitong lumber is in marine environments. Boats are often constructed using this type of wood because it has natural waterproofing abilities which make it resistant to rotting when exposed to water.

Apitong lumber is sometimes used as a sustainable alternative to non-renewable building materials like concrete or steel. Its ability to last long-term under harsh conditions makes it an eco-friendly option with low maintenance requirements.

The uses and applications of Apitong lumber are diverse and varied – from truck beds up to high-end furniture pieces!

Conservation Status of Apitong Tree

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Apitong tree is currently listed as “Vulnerable” on its Red List of Threatened Species. This means that although it is not yet critically endangered, it faces a high risk of extinction shortly if current trends continue.

One of the main threats faced by Apitong trees is deforestation. The destruction of natural forests due to logging and conversion into agricultural land has led to a decline in their population size and distribution range. Additionally, illegal logging practices often target mature trees with higher timber value, further exacerbating their vulnerability.

Efforts have been made towards conserving this valuable species by establishing protected areas where logging activities are strictly regulated or prohibited altogether. Reforestation programs have also been implemented with varying degrees of success.

While progress has been made toward protecting and conserving Apitong trees, much more needs to be done before we can safely say that they are no longer at risk.

Is Planting Apitong Profitable?

Planting Apitong trees for lumber production can be a profitable investment in the long run. However, it requires patience and careful planning since Apitong trees have a slow growth rate of around 1 inch per year. This means that it may take at least 30 years before you can harvest mature and high-quality logs.

One way to ensure profitability is by planting Apitong trees alongside other crops or plants that provide income while waiting for the tree’s maturity. Additionally, proper care and management practices such as pruning and fertilization can help increase the yield and quality of harvested logs.

It’s also essential to consider the market demand when deciding whether to plant Apitong trees. There must be a consistent demand for this type of wood to guarantee steady sales once you start harvesting your plantation.

Furthermore, government incentives such as tax breaks or subsidies are available in some regions to encourage reforestation efforts with commercial species like Apitong, which could further improve its profitability potential.

Investing in planting Apitong is not an overnight get-rich-quick scheme but rather a long-term investment that requires careful planning and patience.

Apitong Alternatives

While Apitong lumber is highly prized for its durability and strength, there are other alternatives available that can be used in place of it. One such alternative is the Balau wood, which is also a hardwood tree found in Southeast Asia. Balau wood possesses similar properties as Apitong, making it an ideal substitute.

Another option worth considering is the use of composite decking materials. These synthetic materials offer a variety of benefits over natural timber like Apitong or Balau, including increased resistance to moisture and insects. Composite decking material comes in various colors and textures, giving you more design options than traditional lumber.

For those who prefer sustainably-sourced products that leave minimal impact on the environment, bamboo could be an excellent choice. Bamboo has exceptional tensile strength and durability comparable to some hardwoods while having a significantly lower environmental footprint.

The final option would be using pressure-treated pine boards as they are budget-friendly compared to hardwoods like Apitong or Balau but still provides decent durability for outdoor applications.


The Apitong Tree is a valuable and versatile hardwood tree found in the Philippines. Its strong and durable wood makes it ideal for use in outdoor applications such as truck beds, bridges, and railroad ties. However, due to overharvesting and deforestation, the species is now considered vulnerable.

While planting Apitong may prove profitable for some individuals or companies, it should be done with caution to ensure that it does not contribute further harm to natural forests.

As an alternative to Apitong lumber, other types of sustainable Philippine hardwood trees are available. It is important to consider these options before resorting to unsustainable practices that can lead to further environmental degradation.

By taking steps towards responsible harvesting and reforestation efforts, we can help preserve this valuable resource for future generations while still benefiting from its many uses today.

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