Ramin

These tropical hardwood trees, known collectively by the common trade name ramin, are home to the endangered orangutan.

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  • common name

    Ramin, melawis, ramin telur

  • scientific name

    Gonystylus spp.

  • status

    15 species listed as vulnerable by IUCN, CITES appendix II

  • height

    up to 24 m

Priority region

Ramin forests are found in the Asia Pacific region, including Borneo, which is a WWF global priority region.

Forests destroyed in the pursuit of trade

As the ramin forests themselves come under attack, the fragile ecosystems they support are also at risk. These trees provide the main habitat for other priority species such as the orangutan and the Indochinese, Sumatran and Malayan tigers.

Ramin is a valuable tropical Asian hardwood used for a variety of products including dowels, mouldings, picture frames, venetian blinds, furniture, and billiard cues. It is commercially popular because it is lighter in colour and harder than many other hardwoods.

Habitat

Biogeographic Realm
Indo-Malaya

Range States
Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Philippines.

Geographic Location
SE Asia

Ecological region
Rainforest, peat swamp forest, sandstone ridges, limestone ridges, rocky streams.

 / ©: Stephen J. Fleay / WWF-Canon
Picture frames of mainly Ramin timber on sale in a Bandung Market Street. Java, Indonesia.
© Stephen J. Fleay / WWF-Canon

What are the main threats?

Legal and illegal trade in ramin is the main threat posed to the future of these forests. Governments in the region have attempted to curb international trade in ramin, but illegal harvesting continues due to poor harvest management and controls.

There are particular problems with smuggling the wood through legal trade routes.

The main trading countries are Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. The major importing countries are China, USA and Italy.

News: Strengthened trade controls for ramin urgently needed

Priority species

Ramin is a priority species. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. And so we are working to ensure such species can live and thrive in their natural habitats.

What is WWF doing?

WWF aims to keep export volumes of ramin within levels that will ensure the species’ survival in the wild. It also assists range states in tackling illegal logging, and works to facilitate international cooperation to control the illegal trade of this tropical hardwood.

WWF's Asia-Pacific Forest Programme works to establish and manage protected areas, restore degraded landscapes, and reduce threats from unsustainable industry and agriculture practices.

WWF promotes the Forest Stewardship Council, which provides accreditation for sustainably produced timber. It promotes greater awareness among consumers, to increase demand for FSC certified timber and timber products.

Logo FSC / ©: FSC
Forest Stewardship Council
© FSC
 / ©: TRAFFIC
TRAFFIC logo - the Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network
© TRAFFIC

How you can help

  • Check before you buy - look for FSC certification when purchasing wood products.
     
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