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Intsia bijuga facts for kids

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Intsia bijuga
Intsia bijuga.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Synonyms
  • Afzelia bijuga A.Gray
  • Afzelia cambodiensis Hance
  • Afzelia retusa Kurz
  • Eperua decandra Blanco
  • Intsia amboinensis DC.
  • Intsia cambodiensis (Hance) Pierre
  • Intsia madagascariensis DC.
  • Intsia moelebei Vieill.
  • Intsia retusa (Kurz) Kuntze
  • Intsia tashiroi Hayata
  • Jonesia monopetala Hassk.
  • Jonesia triandra Roxb.
  • Macrolobium amboinense Hassk.
  • Macrolobium bijugum Colebr.
  • Outea bijuga (Colebr.) DC.
  • Pahudia hasskarliana Miq.
  • Tamarindus intsia Spreng.

Intsia bijuga (commonly known as Johnstone River teak, Pacific teak and scrub mahogany) is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, native to the Indo-Pacific. It ranges from Tanzania and Madagascar east through India and Queensland, Australia,Papua New Guinea to the Pacific islands of Fiji and Samoa.It grows to around 50 metres (160 feet) tall with a highly buttressed trunk. It inhabits mangrove forests. Intsia bijuga differ from Intsia palembanica in the number of leaflets that make up their compound leaves.

The tree has a variety of common names including ipil and kwila.

Uses

The bark and leaves of the ipil are used in traditional medicines. The tree's timber, called kwila, is a very durable and termite-resistant wood, making it a highly valued material for flooring and other uses. The wood can also be used to extract a dye. The tree can contain a "gold" fleck that runs through the grain, considered to be attractive by some. Due to extensive logging of the tree, it is endangered in many places in Southeast Asia, and almost extinct in some. Extensive amounts were purchased for the venue of the 2008 Summer Olympics in China, which is the largest importer of the wood. The wood is used for flooring in U.S. and European markets where it is commonly sold under different names. Both licensed and unlicensed mills harvest the wood.

Illegal logging

According to Greenpeace large amounts of ipil timber sourced from illegal logging is being imported into China where there are lax import rules. Greenpeace are targeting users in Western countries in order to halt the trade in ipil wood. Greenpeace claims that at the current rate of logging the tree will be wiped out within 35 years.

In New Zealand, where the ipil wood is known as kwila, attempts have been made to stop it from being imported. In 2008 retailers were divided in whether the sale of kwila should be banned. Jim Anderton, who was the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry at that time, did not support a ban and instead he left it up to consumer choice.

Symbolism

Intsia bijuga, locally known as ifit, is the official tree of the United States territory of Guam.

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