Production Potential of Rubberwood in Malaysia: Its Economic Challenges

Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis) has emerged as the most important source of wood raw material in Malaysia. Being a plantation crop, it is regarded as a green and environmental-friendly material that has found applications in almost all sectors of the wood industry. Despite its importance as a socio-economic sector, the future of the rubberwood industry in Malaysia is under scrutiny. The steadily declining rubber cultivation area in the country is raising alarms about the future supply of rubberwood. Although the government provides a replanting subsidy for smallholders, who make up the large proportion of the growers, there is an urgent need to enhance the profitability of rubber growing activities. Efforts to enhance the full recovery of wood biomass available and also expanding the use of rubberwood in high value applications must be pursued rigorously, to arrest the declining interests in rubber cultivation. Policy makers must ensure that rubber cultivation remains economical and the net value of rubberwood is further enhanced through application in non-traditional sectors.

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