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Molave Tree: All You Need to Know

If you’re a fan of hardwood trees, then the Molave tree, also known as Mulawin in the Philippines, should be on your radar. It has impressive characteristics and uses, and its conservation status is also important to consider. In this article, we’ll delve into all things Molave – from its description and applications to why it’s so expensive and whether planting it can be profitable. So grab a seat and get ready to learn about the fascinating world of the Molave tree!

Molave Tree Description and Characteristics

The Molave tree, scientifically known as Vitex parviflora, is a slow-growing hardwood species native to Southeast Asia. It’s called Mulawin in the Philippines and has been an essential part of Filipino culture for centuries.

This tree can grow up to 30 meters tall with a diameter of around one meter at its base. It’s known for its straight trunk and dense crown that provides ample shade when planted in parks or other open spaces.

Molave tree
Molave tree

Molave trees are also valued for their durability and decay resistance, making them ideal for use in construction projects such as flooring, furniture making, shipbuilding, and even railway sleepers.

In terms of lifespan, the Molave tree can live up to more than 120 years if well cared for. However, the average lifespan has decreased significantly due to over-harvesting and deforestation in some areas where it grows naturally.

Despite this decline in numbers, efforts have been made by both government agencies and private organizations alike to conserve this valuable species through reforestation programs and strict regulations on logging activities.

Why Molave is So Expensive

Mulawin is one of the most expensive types of wood in the Philippines. One reason for this is its scarcity. Due to excessive logging and deforestation, fewer trees are available today than ever.

Another factor contributing to its high price is its durability and strength. The Molave has a lifespan of up to 50 years and can grow up to 30 meters tall with a trunk diameter of up to two meters! Its density makes it resistant to decay and pests, making it an ideal construction material.

Furthermore, harvesting the Molave tree requires specific skills only experienced woodcutters possess. These workers must carefully select mature trees while ensuring they do not damage other surrounding trees or wildlife habitats.

Transportation costs add significantly to the overall price tag, as hauling large logs from remote areas is no easy feat.

In short, despite being difficult and time-consuming to harvest and scarce due to overharvesting, the Molave remains highly popular due to its unique characteristics, which make it perfect for various applications such as furniture-making or construction work.

Molave Uses and Applications

The molave wood is highly sought for its strength, durability, and resistance to termites and decay. Here are some of the most common uses and applications of molave:

1) Construction: Molave wood is commonly used due to its high density and strength. It’s often used for frames, beams, pillars, flooring, decking, doors, and windows.

2) Furniture Making: The hardness of molave wood makes it ideal for creating durable furniture pieces such as tables, chairs, or cabinets that can last for generations.

3) Marine Applications: Molave is resistant to water damage, making it a popular material for marine-related structures like piers or boats.

4) Tool Handles: The dense nature of molave makes it an excellent choice when crafting tool handles like hammers or axes.

5) Decorative Items: Because of its natural beauty, with dark brown streaks mixing across light brown base coloration, many decorative items derived from this twisted grain pattern become very attractive products both locally in the Philippines and abroad once exported.

Overall, molave trees have significant economic importance not only in the Philippines but worldwide due to their unique properties, which make them useful resources across various industries.

Conservation Status of Mulawin Tree in the Philippines

Unfortunately, due to its high demand and slow growth rate, Molave has become endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Molave trees are classified as vulnerable.

Several factors contribute to this status, including deforestation and illegal logging practices, which have led to habitat loss for these trees. In addition, climate change has also affected their growth and survival rates.

Various conservation efforts have been initiated by government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) to address this issue. These include reforestation programs aimed at planting more Molave trees in areas where they once thrived. Moreover, awareness campaigns were launched to highlight the importance of preserving these precious Philippine hardwoods.

We must continue prioritizing Mulawin Trees conservation efforts while promoting sustainable forest management practices. This way, we can ensure that future generations can still enjoy their beauty and benefits without depleting our natural resources further.

Is Planting Molave Trees Profitable?

Planting Molave trees can be profitable, but it requires careful planning and patience. Due to the growing demand in the market, investing in Molave tree plantations is an excellent opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to invest their money in sustainable forestry.

Molave wood is highly valued due to its durability and resistance to decay. This makes it ideal for furniture-making and construction purposes. As such, there is a high demand for this type of hardwood in both local and international markets.

However, cultivating Molave trees takes time as they grow slowly. It may take up to 20 years before you can harvest mature trees suitable for commercial use. Hence, planting Molave trees requires a long-term investment commitment with no immediate returns.

On the other hand, if done correctly, planting Mulawin tree plantations can provide a steady income stream while contributing positively to environmental conservation efforts. The Philippines government also provides incentives such as tax breaks and subsidies for forestry-related investments that help make the investment more attractive.

In summary, investing in Molave tree plantations could be profitable if carefully considered, given the potential challenges associated with waiting periods required before harvesting mature Mulawin Trees that are ready for sale on the market.

Molave Alternatives

Several options are available if you’re searching for an alternative to Molave. One such wood is Philippine Mahogany or “Lauan,” known for its durability and resistance to decay. It’s a popular choice among furniture makers due to its smooth texture and ease of staining.

Another alternative is the Acacia tree, which multiplies and has a similar appearance to Molave. It’s commonly used in building construction as it can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Teakwood is another option that shares similarities with Molave in terms of strength and durability. Although it may come at a higher price point than other alternatives, Teakwood has been considered one of the most valuable woods in the world due to its natural oils, which make it resistant to rotting, termites, and other pests.

Those who want an eco-friendly option may consider using bamboo instead of hardwood trees like Molave or any of the abovementioned alternatives. Bamboo grows faster than most hardwoods – up to 91 cm per day- making it a sustainable material for furniture-making while reducing carbon emissions from deforestation.

Choosing an alternative depends on various factors, such as desired properties for specific applications, availability within your area or region, and cost considerations.


The Molave tree, or Mulawin, is a valuable hardwood species in the Philippines. It has been used for various purposes, including furniture, construction materials, and decorative items. Despite its high price tag due to scarcity and demand, there are still ways to cultivate and harvest Molave trees sustainably.

Planting Molave trees can be a profitable investment for those who want to contribute to preserving our environment while also earning some profit. However, proper management practices such as regularly monitoring growth rate and pest control measures are required.

Moreover, we should not solely rely on Molave wood when there are other alternatives available that have similar properties, like Teak or Narra wood. Whatever type of hardwood you choose for your project—whether it’s a Molave tree or any other Philippine hardwood tree—always make sure that it comes from sustainable sources.

Sound forest management policies and practices in place by the government agencies concerned, coupled with public awareness campaigns about the importance of conserving our natural resources, can help ensure that future generations will continue enjoying these beautiful trees while protecting our biodiversity at the same time.

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