Teak Plantations As An Investment

Can you make money?

Are they really a good investment?

Which Country is safe?


What is plantation teak?
Plantation Teak is Tectona Grandis the true teak we have seen as furniture and boats. Teak has many trade name such as Burmese teak.
South American Teak has that beautiful golden teak color similar to the Asian Teak and yes will still dull your tools. I believe the availability and quality of teak from the Americas will continue to improve as more of the well managed plantations start to mature.

What is a teak plantation?
Plantations are tree farms. Their sole purpose is to produce a viable money making crop over the shortest period of time. Much of the paper produced in the United States as well as all of the Christmas trees and some of the lumber comes from tree farms.

Is a teak plantation environmentally sound?
Natural forests are the source of almost all high grade hardwoods in the tropics but are being degraded and deforested at an unprecedented rate. Areas under sustained yield are relatively small and alternative supply sources (plantations), which provide positive social and environmental benefits, are scarce. Teak, the major tropical hardwood plantation species, is a useful indicator of plantation trends. In 1980, it constituted 11% of the total area of tropical forest plantations whereas in 1990 the corresponding figure was 5%. If present trends persist, the future outlook for the sustainable supply of quality tropical hardwoods, is bleak. This is at a time when demand for the raw material, particularly domestic demand, is forecast to rise. What is required now, to avoid a pending crisis in the sustainable supply of tropical hardwoods, is to increase, substantially, the area under sustainable management in natural forests and supplement this with a significant increase in plantations which perform social and environmental roles.
Twenty five year old plantation teak trees as seen in Costa Rica

My personal advice:
Having lost some money on a plantation teak investment in Costa Rica I can give you some sage advice. Own it and control it yourself to be sure and safe. The hard work on a teak plantation farm is the planting of the teak trees and keeping them alive during the first three years until they get bigger. I don't want to mislead you there is still continual maintenance to perform as they mature. You must also protect them from theft. This is a major problem on tree farms world wide, yes even in the United States.

My partner and I lost a chunk of money on a teak plantation in Costa Rica. I should know better, but... I have Been to Costa Rica visiting teak plantations since 1991, met with government officials and was given the grand tour and the inside scoop by an acquaintance there. So when I bought some teak trees I knew what to look for, or so I thought. It was set up very well and the premise was socially correct, a coop of local farmers headed by a respected family that had been tree farming for 20 years. Also this teak plantation was government approved and sanctioned. But as I see now, the flaw was in trusting too much. I feel foolish about it as do the Costa Rican coop farmers, attorneys, accountants, managers and father of the respected family. It only took one scammer to bring it all down. The only person that made out ok bought the property with clear title and hired a caretaker. His teak trees are still growing well. There are many questionable investments in the world as well as investor decisions.

I have visited a number of old and new teak plantations. Sawn up and bought quite a bit of plantation teak. Met with some of the"experts" in the field of teak plantation and research. Teak plantations are a viable investment if there is enough protection for the investors and the project is well funded and professionally managed. It is up to you to insure this exists in the choice you make.

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