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Environmental factors and wood qualities of African blackwood, Dalbergia melanoxylon, in Tanzanian Miombo natural forest

Nakai, Kazushi, Ishizuka, Moriyoshi, Ohta, Seiichi, Timothy, Jonas, Jasper, Makala, Lyatura, Njabha M., Shau, Victor, Yoshimura, Tsuyoshi
Journal of wood science 2019 v.65 no.1 pp. 39
Acacia melanoxylon, Brachystegia, Dalbergia melanoxylon, coasts, community development, community forestry, environmental factors, forests, heartwood, livelihood, soil properties, stand structure, surveys, sustainable forestry, trees, wood quality, woodlands, Mozambique, Tanzania
African blackwood (ABW) (Dalbergia melanoxylon) mainly occurs in the coastal areas of East Africa, including in Tanzania and Mozambique, and its heartwood is commonly known to be one of the most valuable materials used in the production of musical instruments. Although the heartwood is one of the most expensive timbers in the world, very low material yield has recently resulted in the significant reduction of natural individuals. This might have serious impact on local communities, because this tree is apparently the only species that can support their livelihood. Therefore, a solution to the problem is urgently needed in terms of the sustainable development of communities. In this study, we survey environmental factors (stand structure and soil properties) in the Miombo woodlands of southern Tanzania, where ABW was once widely distributed, to clarify the factors affecting growing conditions of ABW. Three community forests located in Kilwa District, Lindi, Tanzania, were selected as the survey sites, and 10–13 small plots (0.16 ha/plot) were randomly established at each site. In addition, the stem qualities of standing trees were evaluated by visual inspection rating and a non-destructive measurement of stress-wave velocity, for understanding the relationship between environmental factors and growth form. It was found that ABW was widely distributed under various environmental conditions with intensive population, and that their growth form depended on environmental factors. Since there was no significant difference of stress-wave velocities among the site, our findings suggest that the dynamic properties of ABW trees does not depend on growth conditions, which is generally influenced by various external factors. These results present important information regarding the sustainable forest management of ABW.