Rattan

Rattan (Calamus javensis), is a climbing vine abundant specifically in the southern part of the Philippines.  It is ready for harvesting by the 15th year when the stems average 24-30 meters in length.  Thereafter, selective cutting of the matured canes may be done at a 3-4 year interval.  The canes of the subsequent harvest are of better quality than those from the previous harvests.  Harvesting is usually done in the dry season involving forest communities where the plant abundantly grows and is grown.

Newly harvested canes are immediately brought to the treating depot before they are dried and processed to minimize discoloration by staining fungi.  Like wood, rattan can easily be given whatever color products made out of it require.  Its natural color can also be retained.  Ordinarily, its color varies from bright yellow to dark brown.  Application of color can be done before or after making a product.

There is a very strong relationship between the rattan plant and the rainforest.  As a climbing vine, it needs the large forest trees as support for it to reach the sun.  Harvesting the fast-growing rattan cane is a better economic alternative to loggers who profit from harvesting timber.

Rattan plantations in rainforest areas also support forest maintenance as they provide settlers with alternative livelihood by planting and harvesting.  A sustainable application of rattan to product design provides not only ecological, but economic and social benefits as well.

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