African teak Pericopsis elata
Also know as: Afrormosia, anyeran, asamela, assamela, assemela, awawai, ayin, baracara, benin satinwood, bohala, bohalala, bonsamdua, devils tree, egbi, ejen, golden afrormosia, iatobahy do igapo, kokriki, kokrodua, liguminosae, mekoe, mohole. obang, ole, olel pardo, peonio, redbark, satinwood, tento, wahala, yellow satinwood
Pericopsis elata is a medium to large tree that can grow up to 50 meters tall, found in relatively dry deciduous forests in West and Central Africa. The wood of P. elata (formerly known as Afrormosia elata, which gave the species its common name of afrormosia) is very valuable as a moderately heavy, durable timber that is often a suitable substitute for teak. Like teak, it is popular for boat-building, along with joinery and decorative veneers.
P. elata has been an important commercial timber species for over 60 years, and heavy exploitation of the tree has led to concerns about the species’ ability to persist in the wild and ultimately to its listing on Appendix II of CITES. The largest remaining stands of the tree are located in northern Congo and northern Democratic Republic of Congo. Several countries in its natural range have experimented with plantations of the species, with mixed results.
For trees in natural forest, the minimum felling diameter is 50 cm in Ivory Coast, 60 cm in Democratic Republic of Congo, 100 cm in Cameroon, and 110 cm in Ghana (logging of the species still requires a permit in Ghana even if the logs are over 110 cm in diameter).
P. elata is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a listing that applies to logs, lumber and veneer. It is considered endangered by the IUCN.
Italy is the main buyer of P. elata timber.