The initiative by the Malaysia Government to introduce Forest Plantation Projects has given both international and local wood furniture-making market an alternative to the dwindling supply of tropical hardwood from the natural forest and rubber wood.
Acacia Mangium is one of the faster growing forest trees cultivated in the Forest Plantation Project. It is normally harvested seven (7) years after planting for the processing of wood chips or 10 to 15 years for sawn timber, when compared to other natural forest species which normally require more than 20 years for sawn timber production.
Although Acacia is not well known in the country compare to other valuable Tropical Hardwood such as Meranti, Teak (Jati) or Rubber wood, Acacia timber has gained its popularity when its mechanical properties (strength and density) are proven to be equivalent with most hardwood or medium hardwood. Acacia chips are suitable for making of pulp and paper, Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) or particle board; where as Acacia sawn timber has the strength for furniture and flooring applications.
The increasing demand of wood chips in the paper pulp industry contributes most to the Company’s turnover. During the first 8 years of its operation from year 2003 to 2010, the Company’s core business was sales of acacia and mix wood chips, which contributed about 70% of the total sales. Other timber products include acacia logs, sawn timber, pallets and particle boards.
Under the sustainable forest management concept, Aramijaya adopts the practice of Agroforestry to maximize land use in Ladang Hutan Ulu Sedili (LHUS) through crop diversification. The Project Land has been dominated by Acacia Mangium but other species such as Oil Palm, Timber Latex Clone (TLC) and Karas were also cultivated in LHUS. In 2006, Aramijaya obtained approval from the Johor State Government to plant approximately 9,415 hectares of oil palm within the LHUS Project Land.
The State Government has alienated the two (2) agricultural lands in 2006 and 2007 respectively, which are located in Mukim Tenglu and Mersing area measuring to a total area of 2,833 hectares to YPJH on a 99-year leasehold. The lands were then subleased to Aramijaya for development of oil palm plantation, thus making a total of 12,248 hectares oil palm plantation land.
Upon complete planting of oil palm in 2014, the overall operation will involve management of 6 estates with over 1000 employees requirement, which will help create job opportunities to many locals in the vicinity.
Rubber (Timber Latex Clone)
Rubber wood plays an important role as the main source of material for furniture industry in Malaysia. The planting of rubber (Timber Latex Clones - TLC) trees will provide an intermediate income from tapping of latex on the sixth year after planting (preferably on the eighth year) while ensuring high timber volume at the end of each 15 year cycles.
Aramijaya is involved in rubber cultivation in two sites: LHUS and Ladang Hutan Terosot in different phases. The Company expects planting of rubber to generate a higher return per hectare as compared to Acacia.
One of the alternative crops approved to be planted in LHUS is Karas tree, which is traditionally used to produce “agarwood” or Gaharu. This industry has proven to offer high economic returns. The cultivation of Gaharu, owing to its lucrative price and high international demand, had been labelled as “black gold” in the market.
The Company had earlier imported Karas seedlings from Thailand for the first 5 hectares trial plots established in LHUS. In 2010, Aramijaya had organised a joint-visit to an Aquilaria crassna (Kapas) plantation in Hanoi, Vietnam. The planters have successfully developed a technology for the inducement of Gaharu resin.
In the same year, the State Forestry Department has approved the planting of Karas for a total of 200 hectares within LHUS. The planting of Karas tree is expected to produce yields in five years time. One cycle of cultivation is between 10 and 15 years.