How Will New Brazilian Mahogany Supply Effect Current Market Leaders?

Despite supplying the large majority of forest-grown Genuine Mahogany to the U.S., the Maya Forest of Guatemala and Mexico is much smaller in size when compared to the other major forest producing countries exporting Genuine Mahogany, specifically, Brazil and Peru.

The following illustration of the historical distribution of Genuine Mahogany (green) demonstrates the relatively small size of the Maya Forest (blue) when compared to the arc of Genuine Mahogany distribution in the Amazon forest (red).

mahogany-brazil-peru-central-america

The scale of the forest concessions in the Maya Forest are also smaller.  In Guatemala 12 community organizations and 2 private firms manage a total of 533,000 hectares of forest concessions.

In Brazil, a single private forest concession (which recently exported the countries first FSC-certified Mahogany) encompasses 190,000 hectares. It alone is 35% the size of all the Guatemalan forest concessions combined.

Over the past year, Guatemala has lead all countries in shipments of forest-grown Genuine Mahogany shipments to the United States, accounting for nearly 47% of them. Brazil, on the other hand, accounted for just over 3%.

While Guatemala’s role as the leading supplier of forest-grown Genuine Mahogany is a testament to the intensive management of the Maya forest, it remains to be determined what effect the new Brazilian supply will have on Guatemala’s market share.

If the new Brazilian concession is able to supply it’s full annual allotment of Genuine Mahogany, we estimate that the exportable lumber suitable for the U.S. market could approach 35 full-container-loads per year, roughly equivalent to the volume that Guatemala currently ships to the U.S.

Let’s hope that the international market for Genuine Mahogany can absorb this new volume without significantly eroding the revenue generated from the Maya Forest and Guatemala’s timber concessions which remain a global model for effective market-based tropical forest conservation.

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