Teak

Teak – Depletion – Three of Hardwoods (Swords)

Genus: Tectona – Family: Lamiaceae

Endangered

Teak is a warning that betrayal, depletion or exploitation are possible. By heeding this warning, we can be prepared to receive wisdom and life’s lessons during a difficult time.

Teak has been over-exploited as a valuable wood for 2000 years. Founded in 1602, the Dutch East India Company colonized Burma and Indonesia. They forcibly turned virgin groves of Burmese Teak Tectona grandis, into plantation forests to produce wood for their ships in the spice trade.By 1824, the British East India Company began over harvesting large areas of teak in Burma and India for export. In 1858, the British took control of India and Burma and declared them along with its teak as the property of the British colonies. Native teak became depleted due to over-harvesting. Since the post-colonial era began in the 1950s, local corporations and state-owned foresters control large-scale teak plantations.

Indonesia, Myanmar and Equatorial Africa. This practice of “plantation teak” is spreading to Costa Rica and South America.

An emerging trend, to release the pressure on teak, is to reclaim “old teak” from boats and buildings that are no longer in service. This serves as an eco-friendly way to “reuse” this endangered tree.

Tectona hamiltoniana native to Myanmar, and Tectona phillippinens native to the Philippines are both endangered species. Tectona grandis (common teak) native to India, Myanmar/Burma and Laos, is known as Burmese teak.

Teak is a beautiful tight-grained, deciduous hardwood that is water and rot resistant. It is a slow-growing tree that needs 30-80 years to fully mature. Its natural oils allow teakwood to withstand the elements without being treated with varnish or other oils.

Teak consumption continues to rise, primarily driven by consumer demand for outdoor patio furniture. This increased demand on a limited supply continues to deplete this natural resource. Reminding us that we must be flexible during times of depletion.

Message: Teak reminds us to be aware of the consequences of our actions as well as the actions of others. Betrayal, depletion and exploitation are difficult and destructive forces.  Sadness, confusion and grief are emotions that force us to take stock of our live and of those we love. Expressing and releasing our emotions is necessary if we are to continue growing and trusting. This is a time of learning difficult but valuable life lessons regarding love and loss. Teak shows us how controlling others often leads to out of control behavior that is self-destructive. Teak reminds us of the importance of creating mutually beneficial relationships in our lives.

Challenge: Depleting ourselves bytaking on more than we can handle to the point that is negatively impacting our health.