Wood Characteristics and properties of Cocos nucifera (the coconut tree) grown in Kwale District

Fri, 10/29/2010 - 11:37

The coconut, Cocos nucifera L., has been described as "the tree of life" or the tree of plenty and nature’s greatest gift to man. Coconut products provide food, shelter and energy to farm households, and can be made into various commercial and industrial products. In Kenya the Coconut tree is a key source of household livelihood in coast region. About 44,000 hectares is under coconut along the Kenyan coast which constitutes 4.4 million coconut trees under cultivation (Mayende, 2006). About 70% of these trees are senile (they are no longer productive -age 60+). The wood from these senile trees are potential renewable resource for timber and a good substitute for traditional hard woods. Wood working properties for Kenyan grown coconut are not well
documented. This paper highlights the results observed from wood conversion and seasoning behaviour, and the determination of the strength and physical properties. These were compared with known data from other parts of the world.

Generally the characteristics and properties obtained were comparable with those from other parts of the world. The density ranges from low to heavy density 0.248 – 0.852 gcm-3. The bending strength, bending stiffness and crushing strength also range from very weak to very strong due to the density variation. Efforts to promote the use of the coconut wood in Kenya started in early 2003 in an attempt of searching for alternative wood species which could be used in the woodcarving sub-sector. However, there are challenges in utilisation of coconut
wood and in its production expansion. This paper also highlights these challenges

Responsible party
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)
Funding bodies
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)