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Example meranti

Meranti from Malaysia and Indonesia is still used for around 30% in window construction in Europe

Meranti is a wood that originated in Asia. It comes from the Dipterocarpaceae family, which is mainly distributed in East Asia. The most important countries of origin for Meranti are Malaysia and Indonesia. The origin from the Greater Asia region entails special risks. Meranti from Malaysia and Indonesia is still used for 30% in window construction in Europe today. Meranti is also used in door construction and furniture construction for chipboard and plywood from Asia.

Inscrutable material flows in the Greater Asia region

When it comes to the origin of wood products, you basically have to look at the entire Greater Asia region in order to be able to better assess the ecological risk that wood products from countries in this Greater Region can carry. The timber trade within the Greater Region is considerable. The material flows flow from Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and Laos primarily to China, India, Vietnam and Japan. From China, India, Myanmar (!) and Vietnam alone, the - then certainly heavily mixed - material flows of round wood, but also sawn wood, veneer or plywood flow in considerable quantities to Europe. A lack of regulation of illegal timber imports, particularly by China and Vietnam, allows vast amounts of unsustainable and illegal timber to enter consumer markets and be sold worldwide.

Meranti - Endangered Species


Various wood species of the botanical genus Shorea (spp.), which all belong to the superordinate family of Dipterocarpaceae (winged plants), are referred to as "meranti". Many Dipterocarpaceae are endemic species, meaning they only occur in certain regions and nowhere else in the world.


The World Conservation Organization IUCN "International Union for Conservation of Nature" lists 84 species of "Shorea" as Dark Red Meranti, Red Meranti, Yellow Meranti and White Meranti in the Red List of Threatened Species. Red List makes the following assessments of the collective term "Meranti":
Critically Endangered: 17 species.

  • endangered: 21 species 

  • "vulnerable": 19 species

  • threatened ("near theratened"): 12  species

  • Least Concern: 15 species.

A total of 7 of the endangered and 12 of the endangered Meranti species are traded under the names "Dark Red Meranti" and "Red Meranti". The problem is that only a few forest workers, traders or processors can visually distinguish whether they are a Red List species  strike, act or process or not. This is already difficult at the level of the standing tree in the stand, let alone when the tree is closed  Sawn timber, panels or other semi-finished products and products are traded internationally. Basically, every Meranti delivery to Europe should be examined by institutes such as the Thünen Institute or Holzforschung Hamburg with regard to this question and that is ... impossible. FSC or MTCC certification does not help to clarify this problem either.

Current deforestation in East Asia

East Asia and above all Malaysia and Indonesia is one of the sad frontrunners in primary forest loss in the past 10 - 20 years worldwide. The East Asia region is still characterized by particularly high rates of overexploitation and deforestation.The large, intensifying deforestation areas in Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Thailand and Borneo, which belongs to Malaysia and Indonesia, are striking. The deforestation also affects regions where Meranti comes from, such as Borneo.

Overview of deforestation hot spots in Greater Asia. Green areas represent primary forests. Red areas are current deforestation alarms and areas marked in orange are areas with recurring deforestation in the regions. Data from GFW.

Borneo - a sad journey through time

The following maps show what Borneo could look like soon.

Map I. The island of Borneo belongs to Malaysia in the northern part and to Indonesia in the southern, larger part. Borneo still has extensive and ecologically valuable primary forests. Among them are also valuable diptocarpecce forests, i.e. the forests from which the good quality meranti usually comes today, which is imported to Europe from Malaysia and Indonesia. In the figure, the remaining primary forest areas of Borneo are shown in green.

Map II. The map shown below shows the state logging concessions in primary forests (yellow) awarded in Borneo. Timber that is imported into the EU legally and in compliance with the EUTR in the coming years is expected to come from these areas. The state-issued logging concessions for palm oil plantations (pink) are highlighted in pink. In some regions of Broneo, these new palm oil plantations are also (still) created by deforestation of primary forests. The wood from these deforestations also ends up on the wood market.

Map III. This map shows what Borneo might look like in the not too distant future. Yellow are areas from which it is unclear how they could ultimately look after "1 to 20 years of state-approved "management" plans better "abstraction plans". Light blue are strict nature reserves. Protected areas designed to preserve biodiversity and all geological features. Highest protection category at IUCN. Medium blue are wilderness areas. Wilderness areas may not contain modern infrastructure (e.g. a visitor centre) but they do allow local indigenous groups to maintain their way of life. These areas are often set up to restore disturbed environments. “(National) parks” are dark blue. Protected areas to preserve large-scale ecosystems and support human visitation. With the priority of conservation, these areas enable infrastructure and contribute to the local economy by providing opportunities for environmental education and recreation. Lowest protection category at IUCN.


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