Last week I visited Coast Eco-Timber’s new storefont in Panama City. The founder, Alana Husby, is a fellow West Coast Canadian and fifth generation logger. Like me, her grandfathers worked during a time of (seemingly) endless forests and timber abundance… that landscape of course has changed quite a bit and the timber/forest industry has had to change with it. Alana has made that adjustment beautifully. A few years ago she embarked on what she calls the most “challenging and unusual project yet, underwater logging in Panama. When a concession in Panama’s Lake Bayano (owned by the Kuna Madugandi Tribe) was brought to her attention the fit between past and present came into alignment. Working with the indigenous tribe as well as her team of skilled divers and sawmill staff, CoastEcoTimber is delving deep to recover timber that has lay preserved in the underwater jungles of Panama since 1979” In this way they provide their customers with spectacular historic wood.
It was great to see, firsthand, the beautiful pieces they are extracting from the lake. Most of the species they seem to be finding are “lesser” known, at least in the international market but long used by woodworkers in Central America. To my delight many of these species are the very ones slowly gaining acceptance as plantation woods (see pic below). A few of these are: Zapatero (Hieronima alchorneoides), Amarillo (Terminalia amazonia), Almendro (Dipteryx oleifera), Cedro Amargo (Cedrela odorata) and others. By offering these woods, (successfully) Coast Eco Timber is validating what we, native species planters, have believed for so long: that these woods are beautiful, workable and will one day fulfill a demand.
Photographs of Alana’s salvaged wood:
For more info on CoastEcoTimber click here