Mahogany Decking Returns to Muskoka, Ontario-
Muskokans love their trees. The landscape wouldn’t be the same without its iconic maples, white pines and hemlocks. So we can relate to the necessity for sustainably managing any woods harvested for human use, whether close to home or half the world away.
At the same time, wood is a staple in the construction of our homes, cottages, docks and decks. When you want beautiful wood without guilt, where do you turn? It might surprise you to learn that one of the most sustainable, durable and beautiful lumbers hails from a small island in the south Pacific.
Like most tropical woods, mahogany has a history of being unsustainably harvested. It’s also a slow-growing tree – amongst the slowest of hardwoods – in some cases taking up to 150 years to reach a size suitable for harvesting. When those two factors – slow growth and poor harvesting practices – are considered together, it’s no surprise that many varieties of mahogany are now listed as endangered.
Fortunately, there’s a solution for those who like the look of tropical wood but disdain irresponsible harvesting practices. After World War II, mahogany was planted on the island of Fiji and has been strictly managed by the Fijian government ever since. Commercial harvesting of the more than 40,000 hectares of plantations only began in 2003 and is controlled at sustainable levels.
“Mahogany decking is a sustainable alternative to tropical lumbers like ipe that are harvested from virgin rainforest,” says Taylor Willson, owner of Green World Lumber. “Regulations prevent overharvesting of the plantations and ensure the long-term viability of the stands.”
And unlike some other hardwoods where unsustainably-harvested lumber can be passed off as sustainable, Green World Mahogany™ is a sure thing. “There are no other stands of mahogany on Fiji outside of the plantations,” explains Taylor. “If your mahogany decking is from Fiji then you know it’s been sustainably grown and harvested.”
Mahogany decking is prized for both its beauty and its durability. Its natural reddish hue, tight grain and smooth, refined finish – appearing almost translucent when polished – have made it popular with boat builders and fine furniture makers. “It’s wonderful to work with,” says Taylor. “It takes stain well or can be left to age to a beautiful silvery-gray colour for a low maintenance option.”
It’s also a wonderful material for wet environments, like Muskoka decks and docks. “It’s mildew resistant, it won’t warp or twist and it lasts for twenty years or more,” says Taylor. “When you want a guilt-free solution that will stand up to the demands of the Muskoka environment, Green World Mahogany decking™ is the answer.”