Posted by Alice on 2016-11-21

Submerged Tropical Hardwood

submerged wood

Our source of submerged tropical hardwood comes from Lake Bayano, located in Panama. It is a man made lake; created in 1976. Prior to its creation the area used to be a natural tropical forest with hills and valleys. In 1976, the Rio Bayano was used to flood the land. Now it's a water reservoir with an area of 350 square kilometers and an average of 13.6 meters deep.


The majority of Lake Bayano is part of a “comarca", which is a restricted area set aside for only the indigenous community. Two of the most popular communities share the lake, the Comarca Kuna de Madungandi and the Embera community.


The view under water, at Lake Bayano, resembles a ghost forest. According to our divers you can even see the old trails. Over the water the scene is different; you can see the tops of the trees in many locations as well as what it looks like small islands that are actually the tops of hills.


The lumber that was submerged prior to the creation of Lake Bayano stood in the forest for hundreds of years, growing very large, thick, and dense. Many of the drowned trees are in the category of “iron woods". Iron woods is a term used for trees that have a reputation for hardness. In the species section, you can read more about each type of wood and their respective Janka hardness.


“Sunken treasure" is a term often used for submerged lumber. The reclaimed wood´s quality has been boosted during its extended stay underwater because much of the resin had leaked out. The fiber of the trees stay in excellent condition which results in a perfectly preserved tropical hardwood lumber. The bottom of the lake protects the wood from rotting due to exposure to light and oxygen. The fact that this hardwood lumber is underwater also protects them from any insect infestation.


A crew of local divers worked in salvaging the tropical hardwood from Lake Bayano. Two types of logs can be found, the ones that were cut during a previous operation before the lake was created; and ones that are still standing and need to be cut down. Our underwater logging requires license and permits, assuring that the reclaimed tropical hardwood is legitimate.


The tropical hardwood found is used majorly for hardwood flooring and decking. This reclaimed lumber is also excellent for ceiling planks, wainscoting, butcher blocks, slabs tables, stair treads, beams, moldings, and others.


Working with submerged wood reduces the destruction of our natural forest and at the same it lessens methane emissions. Also, the constant effect of logging and the destructive side effects such as the construction of roads does not apply to this source of tropical hardwood; making this type of reclaimed wood ecologically responsible.


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