Monday, September 28, 2009

More amazing Acacia mangium facts ...

Africanized bees in Acacia mangium tree
One surprising fact about Acacia mangium is its honey production. Africanized and other bees are attracted to Acacia mangium, because its petioles or leafstalks exude extra floral nectar year round, which allows for ongoing honey production. The bees also enjoy the flowers and are the primary pollinator for the tree. Beehives in Acacia mangium plantations produce up to 110 kg or 242.5 lbs of honey per hive per year, which is important for local economies and employment. The only disadvantage is the aggressive nature of Africanized killer bees, which means plantation workers and others need to take extra care when gathering honey or confronting bees.

2.5 year old Acacia mangium in erosion controlIt has been suggested that Acacia mangium may offer a partial solution to ecological and human problems in sub-Saharan Africa due to 2 factors. The first is the tree’s long history of doing well in reclamation and erosion control projects with poor soils. The second factor is its food value. The germinating seeds can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Studies indicate that the seeds are high in crude protein content. Acacia mangium shoots and phyllode leaves have also proven themselves as a crude protein fodder source for sheep and goats, though with low in vitro dry matter digestibility, so best eaten fresh. Together with honey production this offers opportunities for rural subsistence economies.

Acacia mangium log
The tree’s versatility can be determined from other facts as well. As a fuel Acacia mangium has a calorific value of 4,500 to 4,900 kcal/kg (8,098 to 8,818 Btu/lb). This makes it an excellent source for charcoal briquettes and artificial carbon where ecological fuels are required. Where paper making is concerned, the pulp is easily bleached to high brightness levels. The pulp and paper industry considers Acacia mangium ready to harvest after only 6 years of growth. Acacia mangium has a bright future in a number of other industries as well. It is already proving itself ideal for both high and medium density fibreboard products. Other studies suggest that using Acacia mangium wood wool (excelsior) is an environmentally friendly solution for organic packing materials. The tree's sawdust offers a good quality substrate for the profitable gwowing of shiitake mushrooms. The wood has a high tannin content (18% to 39%), meaning that it may become an important source for organic dyes as well. Yesterday's and today's blog tell the story of why investors with Amazonia Reforestation are enthusiastic about Acacia mangium.

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