OKOUMÉ … the Red Gold from Gabon: Gabon supplies 90% of the world’s Okoumé. The log quality of Okoumé in Gabon is very high. The first grade is normally used for veneer and the second grade for sawn wood, which still is an excellent quality for the production of sawn timber.


Boasting the second highest forestry potential in Africa, Gabon’s forests covers 22.8 million hectares, i.e. 88% of the country’s land surface. There are three major forest types: evergreen rainforest in the west characterised by abundance of Okoumé & Ozigo, the central Gabonese forest covering most of the country with abundance of species like Azobé& Ayous and semi-deciduous forest with dominance of Limba, Wenge & Ayous. With a low overall population density and 60% of population living in urban areas, there is little anthropogenic pressure on Gabon’s forests. Gabonese Republic (2008) indicated an average annual deforestation rate of 0.12% i.e. 10,000 ha per year. All forest in Gabon is owned by the state. The 2001 Forest Code divides forest into two categories i.e. First Category (13.5 million hectares) include Production PFE  managed by private concessionaires and the protection PFE managed directly by the state. The Second Category (8.3 million hectares), the non-PFE, known as domaine rural, includes open access forest for hunting, agriculture, mining and gathering of NTFPs, sacred forests and community protected area for which rights are limited to local communities.


okoume-veneer-from-gabon-2Over the past ten years, Gabon has gone through a profound process of reform affecting the forest and environment. A new forest law has come into force that emphasizes Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) as the overall approach in the forestry. Forest Management plans are developed for 9.45 million hectares of forest in concessions. An estimated 1.87 million hectares of forest were certified under the FSC (some of them also had ISO 14001 and Keurhout certificates) as of June, 2010.


okoume-sawn-2Forestry is, and will remain, one of the pillars of Gabon’s economic and social development. The private sector has become a major driver of industrial forest development and the export of forest products. Gabonese Republic has introduced a system to institutionalize community forestry as a way of meeting local needs for timber and other forest products. Gabon has a low deforestation rate, forests rich in valuable timber species and among the best prospects for a healthy and sustainable forest industry. Reforestation has been continuously promoted, and selective thinning and clearing have prevented the over exploitation. Over 50 firms are engaged in exploitation of Gabon’s forests. Forest concessions covering about 12 million hectares have been granted by the Gabonese Republic.


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OKOUMÉ … the Red Gold from Gabon
Gabon’s reserves of exploitable timber estimated at 400 million cubic meters includes 130 million cubic meters of Okoumé. Gabon supplies 90% of the world’s Okoumé. The log quality of Okoumé in Gabon is very high. The first grade is normally used for veneer and the second grade for sawn wood, which still is an excellent quality for the production of sawn timber. Okoumé wood species at solid timber stage shows a durability level of Class 4 in accordance with EN 350 – 2.


Okoumé has a salmon pink to pinkish brown or reddish brown colour, darkening upon exposure to light to a darker mahogany-like colour. The 20-50 mm wide sapwood has a pale grey-whitish colour and is easy to distinguish from the heartwood. The structure is mostly uniform. Okoumé has no special smell or taste. The wood grain is straight to irregular, and sometimes interlocked. The texture is medium coarse to coarse. The timber is considered to be fairly resistant to rot. The wood takes well to stains, oils, varnishes and glues very well. Okoumé is the perfect timber for exterior doors and window frames. The timber serves as a good replacement for Meranti and more expensive species such as Sapeli and Acajou in the manufacture of furniture. The machining of Okoumé goes rather well, although there is interlocked grain and some Silica in the wood structure. This causes a blunting effect on the tools. Therefore sharp hard metal tools are advised. Pre-drilling is recommended. The gluing and finishing properties are good. Sometimes it is advised to fill the pores, before applying a finish. It dries moderately quickly, with low risk of cracking and deformation.


Okoumé… sawn timber
Okoumé is a perfect wood species for the air dried & kiln dried international Lumber Market. Okoumé is quite similar to Meranti from Malaysia in terms of appearance, colour and other characteristics and can serve alternative to Malaysian Meranti. Like Meranti, the “end using” markets are the doors & widows frame makers. Also usable for interior Furniture, Okouméh as the advantage to be easy to process, polish and varnish even with different coloration. If you saw in quarter cut or flat, its regular structure allows different woodworking with a high quality finishing level. Okoumé is a very popular species in the Middle East, Europe, China & North Africa for sawn timber. Mainly available in 50 mm of thickness, Okoumé demands are strongly increasing in Vietnam, Philippine and China. The European demand is steady and growing.




Okoumé… the perfect timber for door, window and frames
Okoumé is perfect timber for production of windows, internal and external doors given it is 5-15% cheaper prices compared to other species used for the purpose and gives several important advantages to the end products. The use of pinkish red Okoumé that is becoming increasingly popular in the production of windows and doors across the world and gives a good opportunity for home owners, real estate companies and interior decorators to accomplish a very exclusive result with reasonable prices. As Okoumé is hardwood, the end products have no resin pockets due to hot southern and western sun exposure and thus offering uniform look to window or door. Moreover, the coat of paint adheres much more easily to Okoumé than other species used for the purpose, increasing the resistance of windows and doors against weather conditions and ensuring their beautiful look over the years. The Okoumé is significantly cheaper than Meranti wood, which is often used by the door &window manufacturers. Due to its even colour, Okoumé precludes any chance that naturally finished doors and windows located side by side could have different colours, which, on the other hand, is quite common with the use of Meranti. The more uniform density of Okoumé enables to guarantee higher quality in all of its parts. The window and doors made with Okoumé has higher thermal and noise resistance. The use of Okoumé, sustainably harvested from the forest of Gabon for production of window & doors enables manufacturers to continuously offer window and door products.


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GABON SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE SA … offering Sawn Okoumé timber


Gabon Special Economic Zone (GSEZ) SA, a joint venture of Gabonese Republic and Olam Olam International have developed a Special Economic Zone, spread over 1126 ha at Nkok (20 Km from the capital city of Libreville). It is one of the largest Industrial Park in Sub-Saharan Africa aimed to promote sustainable production and processing of timber and various other resources in the country. With the transformation capacity available at Gabon SEZ – Nkok, GSEZ SA is capable to offer sustainable and uninterrupted supply of Sawn Okoumé. They are available in stock all year in thicknesses from 27 to 80mm, widths of 100mm or more, and lengths of 2150mm or more (or 2450mm for moulding).Part of the product range is FSC certified, and the other part of the range has guarantees of legality in accordance with international practices.


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For trade enquiries, please get in touch with team of GSEZ at: