Belize Hardwoods | Our Process
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Our Process

“Over the last 40 years, timber investments have returned 13.3% versus an 11.6% return for the S&P 500 index over the same time frame.”

Smart Money

How we grow trees for investment

We scout the world’s perfect locations to grow the best long-term investment crops, primarily hardwoods like teak and mahogany.

Using our knowledge and local skilled labor, our site selection and preparation is the first step in producing the best quality and highest value timber products on the market. Without the ideal site selection and preparation, the end result may not be as desirable or valuable. This is just one of the many reasons why we consistently produce the most valuable hardwoods on the market today.

New Area Selection

Our newest location selection is approximately 6,000 acres (1,000 acres is allotted for planting) in the Cockscomb Basin in Southern Belize. This virgin jungle has the perfect soil, temperature and annual rainfall for the growth of teak and mahogany. The remaining 5,000 acres will be reserved for the natural co-existence of the local flora and fauna which thrives in this region. We firmly believe that if planned and executed properly, a strong financial gain can be achieved in the hardwood industry without disturbing the ebb and flow of nature.

Surveying the Best Planting Locations

Hardwoods are valued and graded on a scale. Without the ideal growing conditions and care, the final value is greatly reduced. Many growers use old citrus orchards or other previously cropped land to grow their hardwoods. Since the soil has already been depleted of nutrients, they need to rely heavily on commercial fertilizers to keep their trees alive. This not only has a negative effect on the environment but also a negative effect on the final quality of the harvested wood. Since we only “virgin”, “first growth” land, our trees have the highest yields and highest final value. Once a site is researched, approved and acquired, we begin the painstaking task of seed selection. As important as the actual land they are planted in, the proper seed selection is paramount to the success of the final harvest value. Our seeds are hand selected from local parent trees that have already developed the genetics to thrive in the exact climate and conditions.

Mahogany Seeds

Once the seeds have been acquired, cleaned and inspected, we begin the process of germination. Germination is done in our custom built “seedaries” or “shade lots”. This process must be timed perfectly to insure that the best quality and healthiest plants are ready for planting. Germinated and cared for under shade throughout the dry season, we strive to have plants up to 3’ tall ready for planting at the onset of the rainy season, approximately 6 months after germination begins.

Seedlings Under Shade

This large scale process allows us to plant as many as 100 acres in a single season, while keeping the quality and consistency uniform throughout. Keeping a fresh and healthy supply of seedlings also allows us to replace any seedlings that may die in the first years or may not be performing as well as the others. These amounts are small, however, even small setbacks early on can have a large impact on the final results. We strive to ensure that all plants are healthy and are “top performers”. Belize Hardwoods implements a high density planting strategy. We plant 900 seedlings per acre (with teak). This amount is actually too large, and if not maintained and thinned properly, crowds the trees resulting in a poor yield. However, this strategy does make the plants grow tall and straight very quickly, since each tree is competing for the sun’s light.

High Density Planting

Once the trees have gotten taller and larger, the canopies will start to close in, usually in 7 years, and we strategically begin the first “thinning”.  At that stage, we remove 50% of the 900 trees leaving only 450 of the finest and healthiest. (Most other growers only plant 500 trees per acre and forgo the 7-year thinning. This is a much cheaper and easier strategy however it also yields shorter, thinner and less valuable trees.) The thinning allows the remaining trees the opportunity to continue growing at an astounding rate. Once the remaining trees have grown until the canopies touch once again, the 2nd thinning is done.  This is usually done 7 years from the first thinning or 14 years since planting. What remains is 225 very tall, straight and high quality trees. These trees then begin to “fatten up”. Since we manipulate their growth by overcrowding, we then give them the space needed to grow in diameter. The most valuable trees are tall, straight and large in diameter and using this strategy, all of the remaining 225 trees per acre will be in this high value category. Our skilled team also maintains a rigorous pruning vigil throughout the trees lifecycle. From the initial planting until the tree is harvested, no detail is overlooked in sculpting our trees into high value, highly prized trophies.

Security Patrol

Our trees are protected 24/7 by our armed security force who patrols the plantations in custom made security vehicles designed to navigate the often difficult terrain. This ensures a quick response and resolution to all threats, natural or man-made. We use drones to not only patrol the plantations for possible dangers but to also help oversee the growth rates and conditions of each acre we plant. This again helps us identify and quickly correct for any abnormalities in our process. The drone images and footage are also used when compiling our growth data findings which are published in our newsletters and crop reports.

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