A range of lesser-known Ghanaian timber species is being tested by TRADA Technology Ltd and the Institute of Marine Sciences, University of Portsmouth, to assess their suitability for marine engineering.

The testing, funded by Ghana Forestry Commission, follows a pilot study earlier this year which explored the feasibility of FSC alternatives to traditional and non-certified hardwoods used by marine engineers.

This initial screening involved comparing the species’ resistance to marine borer attack with that of greenheart and ekki. Findngs were presented to the Timber Industry Development Division of Ghana Forestry Commission, which decided to fund the further research.

Twelve species will form the basis of further testing, including the promising ayan, wonton and denya.

Project co-ordinator Dr John Williams, of TRADA Technology, said: “Marketing lesser-known species has often tested the timber industry and this has been seen very clearly in the use of timber for marine construction. Using a wider diversity of species can help increase the value of natural forests.”