February 4, 2006
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Palm flooring and plywood

Smith & Fong works with a coconut palm found abundantly in Asia. Plantation-grown palms produce nuts for more than 100 years, but as palms get taller with age, nutrients traveling from the base cannot reach the nuts efficiently, thus diminishing production. The taller palms are eventually removed and replaced with younger, better producers. The felled timber, which is a byproduct of the palm plantation, has no established secondary market and frequently goes unused.

Smith & Fong is developing this secondary market to provide a greater cash return to the farmer and a greater utilization of this valuable material. As the rain forests of these regions continue to be tapped for timber needs, coconut palm lumber has been an overlooked resource. According to the manufacturer, “We hope through this work [that] palm will one day be recognized as a valuable building alternative and help reduce rain forest harvesting.”

Contact: Smith & Fong, San Francisco, CA, USA.

For more information, see Transmaterial: A Catalog of Materials That Redefine our Physical Environment

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