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A one-stop location for information on big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla, Meliaceae)

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Welcome to SwietKing.org, a resource library dedicated to educating the public about big-leaf mahogany, or Swietenia macrophylla King. These web pages, photographs, interactive management tools, and links to related internet resources are designed to answer questions and satisfy curiosity about the ecology, management, and conservation of mahogany in natural forests.

Large mahogany tree near Capixaba, Acre, west Brazil.
Mahogany Tree
Large mahogany tree near Capixaba, Acre, west Brazil.

We hope to stimulate visitors to consider tropical timber species as not so very different from the trees inhabiting forests near their own communities. The New World mahoganies produce the most ‘branded’ luxury timber in the world. They inhabit lowland tropical forests from Mexico to Bolivia, and are increasingly rare in the wild after 500 years of commercial exploitation. Yet in broad outline their ecology – their life history strategies for surviving and reproducing within intensely competitive tropical forest environments – resembles that of many trees around the world, including, perhaps, some growing near you. This means that anyone interested can understand the issues and challenges associated with managing and conserving natural mahogany populations that survive in the wild today.

The assumption that underlies our research program in Brazil is that better ecological information about mahogany can improve forest management practices. In our view, improving forest management practices offers the best possibility of conserving natural populations for their own sakes, as well as for their appreciation and use by future generations of us.

These pages describe what we and other researchers have learned about mahogany from field research during the past two decades. The emphasis here is on mahogany in Brazil, mainly in southeast Amazonia where our principal Field Sites are located, but also in southwest Amazonia in the western Brazilian state of Acre. For information about mahogany in other regions where researchers have studied it, see references under Readings & Links, especially those about mahogany in Mexico, Central America, and Bolivia.

History

This section describes mahogany’s natural range and provides a brief overview of humankind’s commercial relationship with mahogany since early colonial times.

More

This section provides maps of our field sites, images of mahogany in natural forests, and a list of mahogany publications and related resources for reference.

Ecology

This section provides descriptive information about mahogany the tree, seed, and seedling; its distribution, population structure, and demographic rates.

Acknowledgements

This section gives us an opportunity to thank the funders and supporters we have depended on since 1995. Thank you for your support.

Management

This section describes how mahogany has historically been harvested from forests and how recent changes in regulations are improving management practices.

About Us

This section provides a brief biography for each of the members of our research team.

Model

The section offers visitors an interactive tool for investigating outcomes from harvesting mahogany populations. The model is also available for download.

Contact

This section provides details on how to contact us with questions and comments. Thank you for visiting!

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