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MAHOGANY is a kind of wood —the straight-grained , reddish-brown timber of three tropical hardwood species of the genus _ Swietenia
Swietenia
_, indigenous to the Americas
Americas
, part of the pantropical chinaberry family , Meliaceae. The three species are:

* Honduran or big-leaf mahogany (_ Swietenia
Swietenia
macrophylla _), with a range from Mexico to southern Amazonia in Brazil
Brazil
, the most widespread species of mahogany and the only true mahogany species commercially grown today. Illegal logging of _S. macrophylla_, and its highly destructive environmental effects, led to the species' placement in 2003 on Appendix II of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
Species
(CITES), the first time that a high-volume, high-value tree was listed on Appendix II. * West Indian or Cuban mahogany (_ Swietenia
Swietenia
mahagoni _), native to southern Florida and the Caribbean
Caribbean
, formerly dominant in the mahogany trade, but not in widespread commercial use since World War II. * _ Swietenia
Swietenia
humilis _, a small and often twisted mahogany tree limited to seasonally dry forests in Pacific Central America that is of limited commercial utility. Some botanists believe that _S. humilis_ is a mere variant of _S. macrophylla_.

While the three _Swietenia_ species are classified officially as "genuine mahogany", other Meliaceae species with timber uses are classified as "true mahogany." (Only the Swietenia
Swietenia
species can be called "genuine mahogany.") Some may or may not have the word mahogany in their trade or common name. Some of these true mahoganies include the African genera _ Khaya _ and _ Entandrophragma _; New Zealand mahogany or kohekohe (_Dysoxylum spectabile_); Chinese mahogany, _ Toona sinensis _; Indonesian mahogany, _ Toona sureni _; Indian mahogany, _ Toona ciliata _; Chinaberry, _ Melia azedarach _; Pink Mahogany
Mahogany
(or Bosse), _ Guarea _; Chittagong (also known as Indian Mahogany), _ Chukrasia velutina _; and Crabwood _ Carapa guianensis _. Some members of the genus _ Shorea _ (Meranti, Balau, or Lauan) of the family Dipterocarpaceae are also sometimes sold as Philippine mahogany, although the name is more properly applied to another species of Toona, _ Toona calantas _.

Mahogany
Mahogany
is a commercially important lumber prized for its beauty, durability, and color, and used for paneling and to make furniture , boats , musical instruments and other items. The leading importer of mahogany is the United States, followed by Britain; while the largest exporter today is Peru
Peru
, which surpassed Brazil
Brazil
after that country banned mahogany exports in 2001. It is estimated that some 80 or 90 percent of Peruvian mahogany exported to the United States is illegally harvested , with the economic cost of illegal logging in Peru
Peru
placed conservatively at $40–70 million USD annually. It was estimated that in 2000, some 57,000 mahogany trees were harvested to supply the U.S. furniture trade alone.

Mahogany
Mahogany
is the national tree of the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
and Belize . A mahogany tree with two woodcutters bearing an axe and a paddle also appears on the Belizean national coat of arms , under the national motto , _Sub umbra floreo_, Latin
Latin
for "under the shade I flourish."

CONTENTS

* 1 Overview

* 1.1 Distribution * 1.2 History * 1.3 Species
Species

* 2 History of American mahogany trade

* 2.1 18th century * 2.2 Recent history

* 3 Uses * 4 Mahogany
Mahogany
as an invasive species * 5 References * 6 External links

OVERVIEW

DISTRIBUTION

The natural distribution of these species within the Americas
Americas
is geographically distinct. _S. mahagoni_ grows on the West Indian islands as far north as the Bahamas, the Florida Keys and parts of Florida; _S. humilis_ grows in the dry regions of the Pacific coast of Central America from south-western Mexico to Costa Rica; _S. macrophylla_ grows in Central America from Yucatan
Yucatan
southwards and into South America, extending as far as Peru, Bolivia and extreme western Brazil. In the 20th century various botanists attempted to further define _S. macrophylla_ in South America as a new species, such as _S. candollei_ Pittier and _S. tessmannii_ Harms., but many authorities consider these spurious. According to Record and Hess, all of the mahogany of continental North and South America can be considered as one botanical species, _ Swietenia
Swietenia
macrophylla_ King.

HISTORY

The name mahogany was initially associated only with those islands in the West Indies
West Indies
under British control (French colonists used the term _acajou_, while in the Spanish territories it was called _caoba_). The origin of the name is uncertain, but it could be a corruption of 'm'oganwo', the name used by the Yoruba and Ibo people of West Africa to describe trees of the genus _ Khaya _, which is closely related to _Swietenia_. When transported to Jamaica
Jamaica
as slaves, they gave the same name to the similar trees they saw there. Though this interpretation has been disputed, no one has suggested a more plausible origin. The indigenous Arawak
Arawak
name for the tree is not known. In 1671 the word mahogany appeared in print for the first time, in John Ogilby 's _America_. Among botanists and naturalists, however, the tree was considered a type of cedar, and in 1759 was classified by Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778) as _Cedrela mahagoni_. The following year it was assigned to a new genus by Nicholas Joseph Jacquin (1727–1817), and named _ Swietenia
Swietenia
mahagoni_.

Until the 19th century all of the mahogany was regarded as one species, although varying in quality and character according to soil and climate. In 1836 the German botanist Joseph Gerhard Zuccarini (1797–1848) identified a second species while working on specimens collected on the Pacific coast of Mexico, and named it _Swietenia humilis_. In 1886 a third species, _ Swietenia
Swietenia
macrophylla_, was named by Sir George King (1840–1909) after studying specimens of Honduras mahogany planted in the Botanic Gardens in Calcutta, India. Today, all species of _ Swietenia
Swietenia
_ grown in their native locations are listed by CITES , and are therefore protected. Both _ Swietenia
Swietenia
mahagoni_, and _ Swietenia
Swietenia
macrophylla_ were introduced into several Asian countries at the time of the restrictions imposed on American mahogany in the late 1990s and both are now successfully grown and harvested in plantations in those countries. The world's supply of genuine mahogany today comes from these Asian plantations, notably from India
India
, Bangladesh
Bangladesh
, Indonesia
Indonesia
and from Fiji
Fiji
, in Oceania.

SPECIES

Species
Species
of _Swietenia_ cross-fertilise readily when they grow in proximity; the hybrid between _S. mahagoni_ and _S. macrophylla_ is widely planted for its timber.

In addition, the U.S. timber trade also markets various other Federal Trade Commission -defined species as _mahoganies_ under a variety of different commercial names, most notably _Philippine mahogany _, which is actually from the genus _ Shorea _, a dipterocarp . This wood is also called _Lauan _ or _Meranti _.

HISTORY OF AMERICAN MAHOGANY TRADE

Mahogany
Mahogany
loggers in Belize, around 1930

In the 17th century, the buccaneer John Esquemeling recorded the use of mahogany or cedrela on Hispaniola
Hispaniola
for making canoes: "The Indians make these canoes without the use of any iron instruments, by only burning the trees at the bottom near the root, and afterwards governing the fire with such industry that nothing is burnt more than what they would have..."

The wood first came to the notice of Europeans with the beginning of Spanish colonisation in the Americas. A cross in the Cathedral at Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
, bearing the date 1514, is said to be mahogany, and Phillip II of Spain apparently used the wood for the interior joinery of the Escorial Palace, begun in 1584. However, _caoba_, as the Spanish called the wood, was principally reserved for ship building, and it was declared a royal monopoly at Havana
Havana
in 1622. Hence very little of the mahogany growing in Spanish controlled territory found its way to Europe.

After the French established a colony in Saint Domingue (now Haiti
Haiti
), some mahogany from that island probably found its way to France, where joiners in the port cities of Saint-Malo, Nantes, La Rochelle and Bordeaux used the wood to a limited extent from about 1700. On the English-controlled islands, especially Jamaica
Jamaica
and the Bahamas
Bahamas
, mahogany was abundant but not exported in any quantity before 1700.

18TH CENTURY

While the trade in mahogany from the Spanish and French territories in America remained moribund for most of the 18th century, this was not true for those islands under British control. In 1721 the British Parliament removed all import duties from timber imported into Britain from British possessions in the Americas. This immediately stimulated the trade in West Indian timbers including, most importantly, mahogany. Importations of mahogany into England (and excluding those to Scotland, which were recorded separately) reached 525 tons per annum by 1740, 3,688 tons by 1750, and more than 30,000 tons in 1788, the peak year of the 18th century trade.

At the same time, the 1721 Act had the effect of substantially increasing exports of mahogany from the West Indies
West Indies
to the British colonies in North America. Although initially regarded as a joinery wood, mahogany rapidly became the timber of choice for makers of high quality furniture in both the British Isles and the 13 colonies of North America. Mahogany
Mahogany
tree at Kannavam Forest, Kerala

Until the 1760s over 90 per cent of the mahogany imported into Britain came from Jamaica. Some of this was re-exported to continental Europe, but most was used by British furniture makers. Quantities of Jamaican mahogany also went to the North American colonies, but most of the wood used in American furniture came from the Bahamas
Bahamas
. This was sometimes called Providence wood, after the main port of the islands, but more often _madera_ or _maderah_, which was the Bahamian name for mahogany.

In addition to Jamaica
Jamaica
and Bahamas, all the British controlled islands exported some mahogany at various times, but the quantities were not large. The most significant third source was Black River and adjacent areas on the Mosquito Coast (now Republic of Honduras
Honduras
), from where quantities of mahogany were shipped from the 1740s onwards. This mahogany was known as 'Rattan mahogany', after the island of Ruatan , which was the main offshore entrepot for the British settlers in the area.

At the end of the Seven Years\' War (1756–63), the mahogany trade began to change significantly. During the occupation of Havana
Havana
by British forces between August 1762 and July 1763, quantities of Cuban or Havanna mahogany were sent to Britain, and after the city was restored to Spain in 1763, Cuba
Cuba
continued to export small quantities, mostly to ports on the north coast of Jamaica, from where it went to Britain. However, this mahogany was regarded as inferior to the Jamaican variety, and the trade remained sporadic until the 19th century.

Another variety new to the market was Hispaniola
Hispaniola
mahogany, also called 'Spanish' and 'St Domingo' mahogany. This was the result of the 1766 Free Ports Act, which opened Kingston and other designated Jamaican ports to foreign vessels for the first time. The object was primarily to encourage importations of cotton from French plantations in Saint Domingue , but quantities of high quality mahogany were also shipped. These were then forwarded to Britain, where they entered the market in the late 1760s. A single seed of mahogany

In terms of quantity, the most significant new addition to the mahogany trade was Honduras
Honduras
mahogany, also called 'baywood', after the Bay of Honduras. British settlers had been active in southern Yucatan since the beginning of the 18th century, despite the opposition of the Spanish, who claimed sovereignty over all of Central America.

Their main occupation was cutting logwood , a dyewood in high demand in Europe. The centre of their activity and the primary point of export was Belize
Belize
. Under Article XVII of the Treaty of Paris (1763), British cutters were for the first time given the right to cut logwood in Yucatan
Yucatan
unmolested, within agreed limits. Such was the enthusiasm of the cutters that within a few years the European market was glutted, and the price of logwood collapsed.

However, the price of mahogany was still high after the war, and so the cutters turned to cutting mahogany. The first Honduras
Honduras
mahogany arrived in Kingston, Jamaica, in November 1763, and the first shipments arrived in Britain the following year.

By the 1790s most of the viable stocks of mahogany in Jamaica
Jamaica
had been cut, and the market was divided between two principal sources or types of mahogany. Honduras
Honduras
mahogany was relatively cheap, plentiful, but rarely of the best quality. Hispaniola
Hispaniola
(also called Spanish or Santo Domingo) mahogany was the wood of choice for high quality work.

Data are lacking, but it is likely that the newly independent United States now received a good proportion of its mahogany from Cuba. In the last quarter of the 18th century France began to use mahogany more widely; they had ample supplies of high quality wood from Saint Domingue. The rest of Europe, where the wood was increasingly fashionable, obtained most of their wood from Britain.

RECENT HISTORY

The French Revolution of 1789 and the wars that followed radically changed the mahogany trade, primarily due to the progressive collapse of the French and Spanish colonial empires, which allowed British traders into areas previously closed to them. Saint Domingue became the independent republic of Haiti, and from 1808, Spanish controlled Santo Domingo
Santo Domingo
and Cuba
Cuba
were both open to British vessels for the first time.

From the 1820s mahogany from all these areas was imported into Europe and North America, with the lion's share going to Britain. In Central America British loggers moved northwest towards Mexico and south into Guatemala. Other areas of Central America as far south as Panama also began to be exploited.

The most important new development was the beginning of large scale logging in Mexico from the 1860s. Most mahogany was cut in the province of Tabasco and exported from a number of ports on the Gulf of Campeche , from Vera Cruz eastwards to Campeche and Sisal. By the end of the 19th century there was scarcely any part of Central America within reach of the coast untouched by logging, and activity also extended into Colombia, Venezuela, Peru
Peru
and Brazil.

Trade in American mahogany probably reached a peak in the last quarter of the 19th century. Figures are not available for all countries, but Britain alone imported more than 80,000 tons in 1875. This figure was not matched again. From the 1880s, African mahogany (_ Khaya _ spp.), a related genus, began to be exported in increasing quantities from West Africa, and by the early 20th century it dominated the market.

In 1907 the total of mahogany from all sources imported into Europe was 159,830 tons, of which 121,743 tons were from West Africa. By this time mahogany from Cuba, Haiti
Haiti
and other West Indian sources had become increasingly difficult to obtain in commercial sizes, and by the late 20th century Central American and even South American mahogany was heading in a similar direction. In 1975 _S. humilis_ was placed on CITES Appendix II followed by _S. mahagoni_ in 1992. The most abundant species, _S. macrophylla_, was placed on Appendix III in 1995 and moved to Appendix II in 2003.

USES

Mahogany
Mahogany
has a straight, fine, and even grain, and is relatively free of voids and pockets. Its reddish-brown color darkens over time, and displays a reddish sheen when polished. It has excellent workability, and is very durable. Historically, the tree's girth allowed for wide boards from traditional mahogany species. These properties make it a favorable wood for crafting cabinets and furniture.

Much of the first-quality furniture made in the American colonies from the mid 18th century was made of mahogany, when the wood first became available to American craftsmen. Mahogany
Mahogany
is still widely used for fine furniture; however, the rarity of Cuban mahogany and over harvesting of Honduras
Honduras
and Brazilian mahogany has diminished their use.

Mahogany
Mahogany
also resists wood rot, making it attractive in boat construction. It is a tonewood , often used for musical instruments, particularly the backs, sides and necks of acoustic guitars, electric guitar bodies, and drum shells because of its ability to produce a very deep, warm tone compared to other commonly used woods such as maple or birch . Guitars featuring mahogany in their construction include Martin D-18, select Taylor Guitars , Gibson Guitars .

MAHOGANY AS AN INVASIVE SPECIES

In the Philippines, environmentalists are calling for an end to the planting of mahogany because of its negative impact on the environment and wildlife, including possibly causing soil acidification and no net benefit to wildlife.

REFERENCES

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ Bridgewater, Samuel. (2012). _A Natural History of Belize: Inside the Maya Forest_. Austin: University of Texas Press. Pp. 164-65. ISBN 9780292726710 . * ^ "Mahogany," _Encyclopedia of Environmental Science_ (University of Rochester Press, 2000, ed. John F. Mongillo), p. 216. * ^ David Humphreys, _Logjam: Deforestation
Deforestation
and the Crisis of Global Governance_ (Routledge, 2012), p. 200. * ^ Simon Gardner, Pindar Sidisunthorn and Lai Ee May, 2011. Heritage Trees of Penang. Penang: Areca Books. ISBN 978-967-57190-6-6 * ^ Julian Matthews, _Trees in New Zealand_ (Lansdowne Press, 1983), p. 72; Eion Scarrow, _ New Zealand
New Zealand
Native Trees and Shrubs_ (TVNZ, 1986), p. 16. * ^ Christophe Wiart, _Medicinal Plants of Asia and the Pacific_ (CRC Press, 2006), p. 203; Zhuge Ren & Clem Tisdell, _China's Economic Growth and Transition: Macroeconomic, Environmental and Social-Regional Dimensions_ (Nova Publishers 1997, eds. C. Clement Allan Tisdell & Joseph C. H. Chai), p. 338. * ^ Michel H. Porcher (October 7, 2005). "Sorting _Toona_ names". _Searchable World Wide Web Multilingual Multiscript Plant Name Database_. The University of Melbourne. Retrieved December 13, 2013. * ^ "GRIN Species
Species
Records of _Toona_". _Germplasm Resources Information Network_. Retrieved 2011-04-21. * ^ "_Toona ciliata_ Roem.". India
India
Biodiversity Portal. Retrieved December 12, 2013. * ^ ASEAN Tropical Plant Database. "_Toona calantas_ Merr. & Rolfe". National Institute of Environmental Research, Republic of Korea. Archived from the original on December 11, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013. * ^ Donald R. Liddick, _Crimes Against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment_ (ABC-CLIO, 2011), p. 104. * ^ Nikolas Kozloff, _Rain in the Amazon: How South America's Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet_ (Macmillan, 2010) * ^ Marcelo M. Giugale & Vicente Fretes Cibils, _An Opportunity for a Different Peru: Prosperous, Equitable, and Governable_ (World Bank Publications, 2007), p. 378. * ^ Alan Cambeira, _Quisqueya La Bella: The Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
in Historical and Cultural Perspective_ (M.E. Sharpe, 1997), p. 17. * ^ _A_ _B_ Victoria Day-Wilson, _Living Abroad in Belize_ (Avalon Travel 2012), p. 14. * ^ Lydia White & Peter Gasson, _Mahogany_ (2008), pp. 2-3. * ^ Record Adam Bowett, _The English Mahogany
Mahogany
Trade 1700-1793_, unpublished PhD thesis, Brunel University (1997); The National Archives (United Kingdom), Cust. 3. * ^ The National Archives (United Kingdom), Cust. 3. * ^ Bowett (1997); The National Archives (United Kingdom), Shipping Returns, CO 142 (Jamaica); CO 27 (Bahamas). * ^ Brad Rauschenberg, ' Timber
Timber
Available in Charleston, 1660-1820', _Journal of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts_, XX, No. 2; Bowett (1997). * ^ The National Archives (United Kingdom), Cust 3; Shipping returns, CO 142 (Jamaica). * ^ This was the Act of 6 George III cap. 49. * ^ The National Archives (United Kingdom), Shipping register, CO 142 (Jamaica); Cust 3. * ^ Viaux-Locquin (1997), p. 6. * ^ _A_ _B_ The National Archives (United Kingdom), Cust 3. * ^ Thomas Laslett, Timber
Timber
and Timber
Timber
Trees, London (1875), p.178 * ^ The National Archives (United Kingdom), Cust. 5. * ^ J. R. Baterden, _Timber_, London (1908), p. 158. * ^ Beberman, Norman L. "Koa: Beautiful Looking, Beautiful Sounding Tonewood". GuitarNation.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-23. * ^ http://gaskellguitars.com/tonewoods-used-to-make-guitars/ * ^ Matt Bruck (2005). _Guitar World Presents Guitar Gear 411_. Alfred Music Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-7579-4061-3 . * ^ Tom Hirst (2003). _Electric Guitar Construction_. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-57424-125-9 . * ^ Agustin A. Pinol; E.A. Perino; M.T. Pollisco; H.O. San Valentin; M.V. Pacho (February 2016). "Asia-Pacific Forest
Forest
Invasive