Claire Fram, ForInfo Project Associate, writes on teak trees as piggy-banks or insurance policies in Bokeo, Lao PDR, where the ForInfo project is helping increase the monetary value of these assets.
Huaythongtai village, Paktha district, Bokeo Province, Lao PDR: A villager in Huaythongtai can sell one teak tree of a 50+ cm DBH (diameter at breast height, a standard method of expressing the diameter of a standing tree), to a trader in the provincial capital, Huay Xai, for about US $150. When villagers are in need of quick cash, their teak trees are their most reliable liquid assets.
We visited Mr. Bounton, the village chief, to learn how teak is used by the community. We heard story after story of villagers who needed emergency medical treatment and sold a teak tree to cover the cost.