The use determinants of Acacia auriculiformis wood as timber in West Africa
Keywords:Acacia, Benin, timber, usage, motivation
Acacia auriculiformis, a firewood, is attracting more interest from the timber industries in Benin. The assessment of the species’ performance in wood factories and plantations is crucial for popularizing the species as a viable alternative to mitigate deforestation related to the timber demand. The main objective of this work is therefore to assess the conditions surrounding the adoption of Acacia auriculiformis as timber species in Benin, West Africa. A total of 154 wood factories and 25 plantations were surveyed in the areas of occurrence of A. auriculiformis plantations. A. auriculiformis is the most common species in wood factories (81%) followed by Afzelia africana (55%), Tectona grandis (47%) and Khaya senegalensis (47%). The acreage of A. auriculiformis plantations increased significantly between 1999 and 2019. Knowledge on the use of the species’ wood is variable across the study area. A. auriculiformis wood is valued as timber primarily because of its aesthetic colour. It is fast drying, easy to process with high impregnability, medium to high wood density and it looks good after processing. Still, the wood provides a lot of sawdust, has many knots and has an average deformability. Its availability and accessibility are the main factors explaining the preference for the species by timber industries. This use of the species is also noted in Togo and Ivory Coast. The species has a good perspective of use as timber.
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