Author page: thrity

Puerto Rico needs foresters, more than ever.

Estos son estudiantes de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Mayagüez, participando en el curso de Silvicultura AGRO4010 del Departamento de Ciencias Agro-ambientales. Pasamos el dia en plantaciones de Caoba y Majó bajo la lluvia torrencial e intensas discusiones que tuvimos en el campo. Gracias al Prof. Oscar J. Abelleira Martínez, por organizar este pasadia para los estudiantes quien estuvo presente aún cuando su esposa se encontraba en el hospital a punto de tener su bebe! Jennifer M. Rivera San Antonio, Asistente del Profesor y Estudiante graduada del Programa de Horticultura de UPRM dirigió el grupo.

La pasamos super bien con todos ustedes. These are students from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, participating in the Silviculture AGRO4010 course from the Department of Agro-environmental Sciences. The day was spent in the plantations of mahogany and mahoe, and through torrential rain, intense discussions kept us warm in the field. Thanks to Professor Oscar J. Abelleira Martínez, for organizing this field trip, to benefit his students, even as his wife was in hospital ready to deliver a baby! Oscar’s assistant Jennifer M. Rivera San Antonio, Graduate Student in the Horticulture Program at UPRM led the team. We had a great time with you all. Please keep forestry high in your choice of future studies. Puerto Rico needs foresters, more than ever.

Images by 3t Oct 2016
Translation by Magha Garcia

Contacto Verde – Escuela Elemental Marín Bajo, Patillas, 28 October 2016

We were delighted to receive 1st and 2nd Graders (6-8 years) from Escuela Elemental Marín Bajo in Patillas who came for a few hours to get into the wonderful forest of Las Casas de la Selva! As part of the new educational initiative in Puerto Rico Programa Contacto Verde, these students had an informative and inspiring time with Andrés, in the forest, and around the Las Casas de la Selva Homestead. We also welcomed Angelica Mercado and the film crew of Puertorriqueñisimo team, who interviewed Andrés and Ruth Reyes Ramos, (below right), and filmed the students in the forest.

Contacto Verde is a program created by the Department of Education and the Department of Natural Resources to facilitate the participation of students at all levels to visit and engage with places of ecological value in Puerto Rico; to encourage experiences with nature, as a complement to environmental education and as a tool to promote the strengthening of cognitive skills and student learning.

La Ley Núm. 36 de 23 de marzo de 2015 crea el programa de gestión ambiental Contacto Verde, adscrito al Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico y a ser desarrollado en coordinación con el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales. Esta ley también ordena crear un comité de coordinación y establecer sus funciones, facultades y deberes con el propósito de garantizar la participación de los estudiantes de todos los niveles del sistema educativo en talleres y actividades de visitas a lugares de valor ecológico en Puerto Rico, para fomentar las experiencias de contacto con la naturaleza como complemento para las gestiones de educación ambiental y como herramienta para propender al fortalecimiento de las destrezas cognoscitivas y de aprendizaje del estudiantado. El programa también busca fomentar la participación familiar en actividades ambientales, desarrollar la sensibilidad ambiental y el desarrollo integral de nuestros niños y jóvenes.

Images by 3t Vakil and Reinaldo Rivera, 2016

UPR (University of Puerto Rico) Elementary School, 14 October 2016

This field trip was organized by Professors Lizzette M. Velazquez, and Linda Clark, as part of their “Al rescate del paisaje forestal de la UPR” (Rescuing the forest landscape of UPR), and included future elementary school teachers in training. We went through the forest trails of Las Casas de la Selva to see the origin of the Sonadora River, and whilst getting there, we talked about trees, animals, soil, the importance of forests, and marveled at the biodiversity all around us.

Back at the homestead, we looked at compost piles at different stages of composting, learnt about humanure composting toilets, (and used them), and smelt fresh humanure compost from a seasoned pile in 3t’s hand! We talked about attitudes towards dirt, or is it soil? and the art of making soil, to grow food. Later, a talk in the wood-shop, a look at raw lumber, and our hand-made wood products, all the while, Negralora, the famous black dog, loving the attention.

Thank you to Lizzette and Linda, and the teachers in training, who helped to manage the group.
Thanks also to Professor Fernando Silva Caraballo, el Director del Instituto de Ciencias para la Conservación de Puerto Rico (INCICO), for early discussions in organizing this field trip, as part of a continuing education in forest appreciation and active management.


Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras Facultad de Educación (DPE y EEUPR) en colaboración con la Oficina de Rectoría e InCiCo
Proyecto:
¡Al rescate del paisaje forestal del cuadrángulo del Recinto de Río Piedras de la Universidad de PR!

Conceptuado y desarrollado por: Dra. Lizzette M. Velázquez Rivera, Dra. Linda Clark Mora, el Dr. Eric I. Figueroa Gonzalez bajo el asesoramiento del Dr. Fernando Silva Caraballo; agosto a diciembre de 2016
Problema y participantes:
Entre los recursos naturales del Recinto de Río Piedras de la UPR se destaca la diversidad de flora que posee. Esta flora sirve de escenario en el cual ocurren innumerables interacciones que enriquecen la vida en este ecosistema urbano. Sin embargo, ante el paso del tiempo y el aumento de la demanda de uso de los terrenos del Recinto para diversos propósitos propios del urbanismo, su presencia también acarrea retos. Entre ellos se destacan la existencia de árboles viejos y enfermos que pueden presentar peligro y el impacto negativo de éstos árboles en las edificaciones.

No es cuestionado el valor estético, ecológico, histórico y científico; entre otros, que proporciona este paisaje forestal a este importante centro universitario de PR. Sin embargo, diversos sectores de la comunidad universitaria tienen diferentes perspectivas de cómo manejar apropiadamente estos árboles. Todos reconocen su importancia, pero en ocasiones sus medidas de acción se contraponen.

Oficina de la Rectoría de la UPR-RP tiene interés especial en promover una mayor consciencia en la comunidad universitaria sobre la presencia y la relevancia de la contribución que aportan los árboles al recinto. Además, está promoviendo una política que permita un mejor manejo de los mismos. Para ello, cuanta con la colaboración del Instituto de Ciencias para la Conservación de Puerto Rico (InCiCo) representado por el Sr. Fernando Silva Caraballo. Silva Caraballo integra a su equipo de trabajo al Dr. Edgardo González y juntos desarrollan la “Iniciativa forestal en el Recinto de Rio Piedras: para el rescate de la memoria histórica de su paisaje forestal y alternativas de estudio, evaluación y manejo de sus árboles y arboledas”.
Una de las instancias específicas que adopta esta iniciativa del Rector tuvo que ver con la respuesta a los requerimientos de sustitución y poda de varios árboles en las dos Escuelas Laboratorio de la UPR-RP como parte de un plan de mejoras a la infraestructura de ambos planteles escolares. Mediante una estrategia participativa diseñada y facilitada por Fernando Silva, se generó un proceso de diálogo, investigación y acción coordinada entre los diversos sectores y actores de la comunidad universitaria y escolar que permitió la integración de las APM, directores de ambas escuelas y una amplia participación de los estudiantes. El resultado produjo un informe de recomendaciones que fueron aprobadas por la Oficna de Rectoría y adaptadas al plan de sustitución y poda que fue propuesto originalmente.

Entre los resultados y lecciones aprendidas de este proceso surgen nuevas oportunidades de integración académica para la investigación y estudio de otros árboles en el Recinto.

Estudiantes de la Facultad de Educación son invitados a colaborar iniciativa forestal de la Oficina de la Rectoría de la UPR-RP en colaboración con InCiCo. Específicamente, futuros maestros del nivel elemental de los cursos que ofrece la Dra. Lizzette M. Velázquez Rivera y estudiantes de 6to grado, de la clase de ciencias de la Dra. Linda Clark Mora en la EEUPR, son invitados a participar del Proyecto ¡Al rescate del paisaje forestal del cuadrángulo del Recinto de la UPR-RP! Esto con el fin de aportar a la comunidad universitaria y escolar de PR, nuevo conocimiento sobre estos árboles. A su vez, presentar recomendaciones a Rectoría que permitan integrar la participación activa de los diferentes sectores y actores responsables e interesados en conservar el valor de los árboles del cuadrángulo del Recinto de Río Piedras.

Como parte de del proceso de aprendizaje de los futuros maestros de ciencias participantes, estos a su vez formaran parte del Proyecto para fomentar la integración de STEM en el currículo del Área de Ciencias de la Facultad de Educación de la UPR-RP, desarrollado por: Dra. Gladys Dávila Hernández, Dra. Lizzette M. Velázquez Rivera y Srta. Gilemi Sepúlveda Cuadrado. (1)Ver detales de este al concluir la descripción del Proyecto ¡Al Rescate!

Several links at the bottom of this page expand the topic for discussion.
Please contact 3t Vakil to see how you can bring your group to Las Casas de la Selva to make contact with the green.

Volunteer at Las Casas de la Selva

Se avecinan cambios forestales en la Escuela Elemental y Secundaria de la UPR

Invierten $3 millones en escuelas laboratorios de la UPR en Río Piedras

Millones para mejoras a las escuelas laboratorios de la UPRRP

Análisis del paisaje forestal en Puerto Rico

Author: 3t Vakil, October 2016

Contacto Verde – Tomas Vera Ayala School, 12 October 2016

We were delighted to receive 4th and 5th Graders (10-12 years) from Tomas Vera Ayala Elementary School in Patillas who came for a few hours to get a hit of the wonderful forest of Las Casas de la Selva!

As part of the new educational initiative in Puerto Rico Programa Contacto Verde, these students had a great time with Andrés in the forest, and around the Las Casas de la Selva Homestead. Thanks to Reinaldo Rivera Ortiz, Director of Citizen Help of Patillas, and the staff of the school for their enthusiastic collaboration.

Contacto Verde is a program created by the Department of Education and the Department of Natural Resources to facilitate the participation of students at all levels to visit and engage with places of ecological value in Puerto Rico; to encourage experiences with nature, as a complement to environmental education and as a tool to promote the strengthening of cognitive skills and student learning.

La Ley Núm. 36 de 23 de marzo de 2015 crea el programa de gestión ambiental Contacto Verde, adscrito al Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico y a ser desarrollado en coordinación con el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales. Esta ley también ordena crear un comité de coordinación y establecer sus funciones, facultades y deberes con el propósito de garantizar la participación de los estudiantes de todos los niveles del sistema educativo en talleres y actividades de visitas a lugares de valor ecológico en Puerto Rico, para fomentar las experiencias de contacto con la naturaleza como complemento para las gestiones de educación ambiental y como herramienta para propender al fortalecimiento de las destrezas cognoscitivas y de aprendizaje del estudiantado. El programa también busca fomentar la participación familiar en actividades ambientales, desarrollar la sensibilidad ambiental y el desarrollo integral de nuestros niños y jóvenes.

Images by 3t Vakil, and Group Pic by William Davidowski. 12th October 2016
Logo by DRNATAGS: EDUCATION,KIDS

What is Mahogany Hardwood? Creating Clarity from Confusion

What is Mahogany Hardwood? Creating Clarity from Confusion
Thrity (3t) Vakil

There has been a decline in the amount of genuine mahogany in the world over the last century, due to over-harvesting. Many red-colored woods have taken the place of mahogany by default, and the reasons why mahogany became the wood that the world fell in love with, have been lost in the saw-dust.

When we speak of Mahogany hardwood we generally mean the hardwood that wowed the western world in the 1800s, became a significant indicator of status, and continued to be a best-selling wood for interiors, exteriors, furniture, and boats right up into the 20 century, when it became understood that over-harvesting was leading to the possible extinction of this species, of the genus Swietenia. As a forester, Mahogany lover, and artist, I recently enquired with Home Depot to ask them what species of tree they were calling Mahogany, as the pictures on their website did not convince me. It took four attempts over a few days before I received a response.

This was their response: “The species is Mahogany eucalyptus, New South Wales Eucalyptus”.

The wood that Home Depot are selling online as Mahogany is not, in fact, Mahogany. It is Eucalyptus, from the Myrtaceae family, of which one species, Eucalyptus robusta, is known commonly as Swamp mahogany, and another, Eucalyptus resinifera, is commonly known as Red Mahogany. Neither are authentic mahogany, as are none of the Eucalypts.

I am also an apprentice botanist, and their response made me a little mad given that I had specifically asked for the botanical name- the genus and species. Common names are just flat-out misleading.

The only hardwoods that can truly be called Mahogany are from the Meliaceae family, Swietenia mahagoni (commonly known as Dominican, Cuban, West Indian, or small-leaf mahogany), Swietenia macrophylla (commonly known as Honduran or large-leaf mahogany), and Swietenia humilis, (commonly known as Pacific Coast Mahogany). All species of Swietenia are CITES-listed.

As of the last century, a naturally occurring hybrid, a cross between the small-leaf and the big-leaf mahoganies has made it’s way onto the mahogany stage, it’s name is Swietenia x aubrevilleana, and is a true and genuine mahogany. This tree was planted extensively in Puerto Rico.

Using a common name and calling a wood ‘Mahogany’ can be misleading as we can see from the Home Depot example. How many woodworkers have bought this wood, thinking that they were getting the genuine thing? The over-harvesting of mahogany led to lesser-known woods, with reddish colors, being sold knowingly or unknowingly to woodworkers as Mahogany, whom, if they had never used the genuine article, remained in the dark.

Over the last few decades, a species known as ‘African Mahogany’ has been available on the wood market. This is Khaya ivorensis,which is in the same family as the genuine mahoganies, but it is NOT mahogany, except by common name. Also in the Meliaceae family, are Entandrophragma cylindricum, commonly known as Sapeli, and Entandrophragma utile, commonly known as Sipo, two other African tree species that became mahogany substitutes as the genuine wood became scarcer to find, and became listed as endangered. Another in the same family is Toona calantas,commonly known as ‘Phillipine Mahogany’, but it is not genuine mahogany either.

There are many examples of wood being sold under the trade name ‘mahogany’.

Other Mahogany substitutes:

‘Philippine mahogany’, sold in North America is NOT a mahogany at all, but could be any species from the genus Shorea, in the family Dipterocarpaceae. Similarly with ‘Borneo Mahogany’, trade name Meranti, which is in the family Calophyllaceae.

‘Santos Mahogany’ or Myroxylon balsamum, a deep red and oily wood, from Central and South America, in the Fabaceae family, not the mahogany family.

The mahogany used by the Chippendale furniture company in the 1800s was Swietenia. Only the genus Swietenia comprises the four authentic mahoganies that are known by wood connoisseurs for workability, stability, durability, pest resistance, and above all an unmistakable beauty. Anything else is another type of hardwood.

Sustainable harvests of plantation Swietenia macrophylla are currently coming out of Fiji, and Puerto Rico is currently a go-to place for Swietenia mahagoni, Swietenia macrophylla and the stunning hybrid, Swietenia x aubrevilleana, which was planted for timber by the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, and private land-owners, in the last century.

Puerto Rico Hardwoods is a new company born from the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project in Patillas, Puerto Rico, established in 1983, that sells genuine mahogany and the hybrid. Please enquire.

All permits are in place from The Department of Natural Resources in Puerto Rico, along with a successful history with the Forest Service, and International Institute of Tropical Forestry, based in PR, a US territory. www.prhardwoods.com

Approximately 55 year old mahogany tree

Credits:
Tables by Puerto Rico Hardwoods

Hand-made boxes in Hybrid Mahogany, Swietenia x aubrevilleana, from Puerto Rico, By Ray Jones

Book-matched Tabletop in Hybrid Mahogany, Swietenia x aubrevilleana, from Puerto Rico. By Tom Kerr

Author: 3t Vakil, Director of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project, and President of Puerto Rico Hardwoods.

August 2016 Mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) available

We are currently harvesting for next years stock. First come first served on these Mahoe slabs below. Scroll down.

NB: All images show both sides of a slab: Example: A1 and A2 are both sides of one slab.

August 2016 Mahoe Measurements in inches

NameLWTBoard FeetPrice@20pbftNotes
A5481360SOLD
B5481360SOLD
C5481360SOLD
D54511.8737.40SOLD
E4570.751.6432.80SOLD
F45912.8156.20SOLD
G58.571.754.9799.40SOLD
H6161.754.4488.80SOLD
I69.580.752.5150.20SOLD
J60141.58.75175.00SOLD
K36.5121.253.8076.00SOLD
L60100.753.1262.40SOLD
M36.580.751.5230.40NOT AVAILABLE
N4990.51.5330.60SOLD
Q464.7534.5591.00quartersawn SOLD

All dimensions are in inches and all slabs are slightly larger than stated. All pieces have been planed on both sides unless stated.
Shipping is not included. We accept secure payments through Paypal.
Please include in your email to 3t@eyeontherainforest. org
1) Your shipping address.
2) Your shipping preference for a quote: Priority (8-12 days) or Standard Mail (14-18 days) .

Mahoe is the timber tree currently being harvested from 26 – 30yr old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva. Mahoe or Hibiscus elatus, (also known as “Blue Mahoe” for the characteristic coloration of its wood after milling), is a tree native to Jamaica and Cuba. A volunteer species, characteristic of open disturbed habitats and also found, due to its shade tolerance, as an understory tree in secondary forests, mahoe grows to 25 m tall and upwards of 100 cm DBH (KIMBER, 1970). It was recognized as a potentially important species for plantation and forest enrichment after a survey by Jamaican foresters (LONG, 1963 cited in KIMBER, 1970). It is an excellent wood with a rich variety of colors and attractive grain, but surprisingly, very little mahoe is currently being produced anywhere else. The first plantings in Puerto Rico were in the 1940s and it has been also been introduced to other Caribbean islands and Hawaii for evaluation. It has become naturalized in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, southern Florida and the West Indies (CHUDNOFF, 1982 cited in WEAVER, FRANCIS, n.d.)

BUY OUR MAHOE WOOD

Mahoe lumber (wood from the mill that requires no further processing) is $20.00 per board foot. Mahoe turning and carving blanks are $26.00 per board foot. Wood for sale may include some sapwood, and all ends are anchor-sealed. Mahoe can vary greatly in color from tree to tree, the blue tone does not tend to endure for many years. The wood transforms over time to shades of browns, purples, greys, and bluey-greens.

Earthwatch Teen Team Expedition, June 2016

June was a very wet month, and we hosted an intrepid Earthwatch Teen team, that went way beyond comfort zones during their ten day stay. This Earthwatch Teen Team braved sometimes torrential rains to assist Principal Investigator Norman Greenhawk collecting Chytrid samples along the Ethnobotanical Nature Trail. The teens learnt teamwork rapidly and became skilled at how to set up collection plots, becoming familiar with the use of the compass, measuring tape, and twine. After letting the plots rest for two days, the team returned and conducted leaf-litter surveys, searching the fallen leaves and detritus of the forest floor for frogs and Sphaerodactylus geckos. All captured animals were weighed and measured, and all amphibians were swabbed to test for the presence of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a fungus that can cause the amphibian disease Chytridiomycosis. This collection event is a part of Norman’s ongoing monitoring of Bd at Las Casas de la Selva.
See more about the Chytrid fungus: https://www.amphibiaweb.org/chytrid/chytridiomycosis.html
This team also measured and re-tagged 110 mahoe trees, (Hibiscus elatus), which are part of long-term study plots at Las Casas de la Selva, with Principal Investigator 3t Vakil.

Images by 3t and Chelsea Kyffin, who was the teen team facilitator.

E. E. King volunteers at Las Casas de la Selva, June 2016

Writer, biologist and artist, Evie King came to volunteer and worked on many diverse projects around the homestead, painted some cheerful frogs and lizards onto the bare walls of el teatro, and also helped out with managing a teen Earthwatch team. Evie first came here in 2005 to partake in some of our earlier Earthwatch research expeditions. Thank you Evie, we really appreciated having you here! And thanks for all the chocolate! (more about Evie below)

E.E. King is a performer, writer, biologist and painter. Ray Bradbury calls her stories “marvelously inventive, wildly funny and deeply thought provoking. I cannot recommend them highly enough.” Her books are;” Dirk Quigby’s Guide to the Afterlife,” “Real Conversations with Imaginary Friends,” “The Adventures of Emily Finfeather – The Feathernail and Other Gifts” and “Another Happy Ending.” She has won numerous awards and been published widely. She is the recipient of two International Tides painting fellowships, and two international biology Earthwatch grants. She was an adviser for the J. Paul Getty’s and the Science Center’s, Arts &; Science program. She was the Science and Arts coordinator in Bosnia with Global Children’s Organization (a summer camp for war orphans and refugees) in 2000. She was the founding Arts & Sciences Director for Esperanza Community Housing Corporation . She has worked with children in Bosnia, crocodiles in Mexico, frogs in Puerto Rico, egrets in Bali, mushrooms in Montana, archaeologists in Spain and planted butterfly gardens in South Central Los Angeles. https://www.elizabetheveking.com/

London actor/producers join Las Casas de la Selva for labor in the forest! June 2016

Both Claudia and Irving have been long-term associates of the Institute of Ecotechnics, and we were delighted to have them come and volunteer at Las Casas de la Selva. Irving traveled with Johnny from London and stayed for over May into June month, whilst Claudia came in for two weeks at the beginning of June. We loved every moment of their stay, and appreciated their help, with overall management of groups, the timber business, and nursery work.

See images of their time here.

About Claudia Bolton: Founder member of Beryl and the Perils (that 3t saw back in the 1980s whilst at College studying theater design with Malcolm Griffiths at Trent, Nottingham)– Fast Furious Feminist Fun in the 70’s/80’s. Warped seriously first time around, ICA/ Edinburgh at the Regency Cinema. 79-80 with Ken Campbell; Warped again second generation with Ken and Daisy Eris Campbell. Actor/Managed that beast for 2 years at the Drome 1999-2001.

In between Warps: among many other things, in lieu of a theatre PHD, she played Winnie in Sam Beckett’s Happy Days and toured herself around the world. – “As Winnie you can pick up a Willie `anywhere, after all he only has 5 lines!” – She performed it in Nepal, On the beach in Bali, In The Outback, at BIosphere 2 in Arizona, NYC and finally at a proper Beckett Festival in Holland with the Incredible Orlando, blind Jack Birkett, playing Willie. Through the 90’s Claudia put on original productions everywhere, especially guest directing at the painter Symon’s, Space Island LIght Industrial Theatre in Bali – an exquisite open air ampitheatre designed by Buckminster Fuller. In 1999/2001 Claudia created the role of the `Serpent in Peter Greenaway’s prop Opera. ‘100 Objects to Represent the World,’ another far more glamorous World Tour! From Salzburg to Rio, Naples to Mexico City and on, though sadly never London.

Post Warp 2, what to do? Small shows! Table Top Theatre – dramatic story telling of classic tales in short form. Greek Tragedy, Hamlet. still very available for hire! Also creating original dramas for kids (home schooling). Directed Robert Anton Wilson’s, Wilhelm Reich In Hell, in the 80’s at the October Gallery London which was a gas, as it was to meet him and get personal permission. Also “Deconstruction of Countdown” – based on William Burrough’s Naked Lunch for Studio 7 at October Gallery, 2013. Claudia is really thrilled that the Cosmic Trigger Play is manifesting NOW in a wonderful lineage of evolutionary Theatre.

About Irving Rappaport: Irving Rappaport is an award winning film and theatre producer whose West End shows include ‘The Seven Year Itch’ starring Darryl Hannah, ‘Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell’ starring Peter O’Toole, ’Jesus My Boy’ starring Tom Conti and the musical ‘Hit Me! The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury’. He is a member of London’s Southbank choir which performs at the Royal Festival and Queen Elizabeth Halls and recently assisted artist Gerry Judah in the creation of two six metre sculptures commissioned by St Paul’s cathedral to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. He is extremely proud to have supported the Showstoppers since their first performance in 2008.

John Allen, Founder of Las Casas de la Selva, May 2016 visit.

Johnny came to visit for the month of May. Here is a link to more images of his time here. Pic credits: 3t Vakil, Irving Rappaport, Andres Rua.

John Polk Allen is a systems ecologist and engineer, metallurgist, adventurer and writer. He is best known as the inventor and Director of Research of Biosphere 2, the world’s largest laboratory of global ecology, and was the founder of Synergia Ranch. Allen is a proponent of the science of biospherics. Allen has also conceived and co-founded nine other projects around the world, pioneering in sustainable co-evolutionary development. He studied anthropology and history at Northwestern, Stanford, and Oklahoma Universities, and served in the U.S. Army’s Engineering Corps as a machinist. He graduated from Colorado School of Mines and received an MBA with High Distinction from the Harvard Business School.

In the early 1960s, Allen headed a special metals team at Allegheny-Ludlum Steel Corporation which developed over thirty alloys to product status. Allen worked on regional development projects with David Lillienthal’s Development Resources Corporation in the U.S., Iran, and Côte d’Ivoire where he became an expert in complex regional development. In the mid-1960s Allen and a group of associates attempted a solder flux company that failed. He has led expeditions studying ecology, particularly the ecology of early civilizations: Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Tibet, Turkey, India, and the Altiplano.

Allen began the first manned Biosphere Test Module experiment in September 1988, residing in the almost fully recyclable closed ecological system environment for three days and setting a world record at that time, proving that closed ecological systems would work with humans inside. As the vice-president of Biospheric Development for the project, as well as Executive Chairman, Allen was responsible for the science and engineering that created the materially closed life system, as well as the development of spin-off technologies.

Allen currently serves as Chairman of Global Ecotechnics, an international project development and management company with a Biospheric Design Division engaged in designing and preparing to build the second generation of advanced materially closed biospheric systems and ecologically enriched biomic systems; in the EcoFrontiers Division he owns and operates innovative sustainable ecological projects of which he was the co-founder and chief designer in France, Australia (5000 acre savannah regeneration project), Puerto Rico (1000 acre sustainable rainforest project) and England.

He is Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Linnean Society, and the Explorers Club.

Johnny’s invention, Biosphere 2, the world’s largest laboratory of global ecology. Biosphere 2 set a number of world records in closed life system work including degree of sealing tightness, 100% waste recycle and water recycle, and duration of human residence within a closed system (eight people for two years, early 90s).

Under the pen name Johnny Dolphin, Allen has chronicled his personal history alongside the social history of his many destinations in novels, poetry, short stories, and plays. https://www.synergeticpress.com/authors/john-allen/


Lucilla Fuller Marvel, AICP, PPL, and Buckminster Fuller Institute Board Secretary, has more than 30 years of experience in urban and social planning, housing and community development in Puerto Rico. Since establishing Taller de Planificacia’s Social (Social Planning Workshop), a consulting firm, in 1973, she has worked with community organizations, private entities, and city and state governments in the preparation of needs analysis, social sector studies, housing plans, and strategic plans. Ms. Marvel co-founded the non- profit Puerto Rico Housing Network in 1996. She is also a member of the Board for the Center for the New Economy, a recently created independent think tank in Puerto Rico and the Chana and Samuel Levis Foundation.

L-R: Corey, Denise, George, Miho, Magha, Flash, 3t, Johnny, Irving and Andres. May 2016

Pic credits: 3t Vakil, Irving Rappaport, Andres Rua.
Link to Google image album https://goo.gl/photos/wcYZHEXxiKe9muc68

San Francisco Day School with Globalworks, May 2016!

This May another 60 students from San Francisco Day school came to Puerto Rico along with their staff, and on a Globalworks organized trip, they stayed all over the island, spending valuable time at Las Casas de la Selva, (20 at a time) during some torrential rainy weather, helping us with the mixing and pouring of a a new cement floor. Thanks to Globalworks staff, Ari W, Luis Bertolo, and PR Globalworks Director, Scott Page. The work was led by Andrés Rúa, and Norman Greenhawk. Thanks to Ricardo Valles, Alex Figueroa and Joel Bernier, for help with all the work. Yara Solis gave three full-on Salsa Dance classes, and Magha Garcia provided some of the finest Puerto Rican food on the island! Thanks to 3t Vakil and Irving Rappaport for images.

Thank you everyone, for all the great energy, even through some of the worst weather we have had this year!

Sustainability Award, May 2016

Puerto Rico Hardwoods Inc (PRH) is delighted to have won the prestigious 2016 EnterPRize business award for Sustainability, sponsored by Grupo Guayacán and the Aireko Foundation.

Hardwood trees that are felled by government and other agencies for public safety in Puerto Rico are currently dumped as ‘waste’ in the islands landfills. PRH rescues these trees and processes them into valuable timber for export and domestic use. PRH also harvests and sells timber from 30 year old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva, Patillas, and promotes sustainable harvesting of timber from other plantations in Puerto Rico.

PRH maintains that sustainability must start with minimizing waste and the intelligent use of local resources rather than importing timber which contributes to the devastation of forests in other countries. In the context of global increases in deforestation, PRH demonstrates long-term methods for economic utilization of previously disturbed secondary forests in Puerto Rico. This is essential in helping to reduce pressure on the exploitation of pristine rainforests elsewhere. PRH is built on a renewable and recyclable resource model and as one of the first of Puerto Rico’s hardwood distributors, believes that sustainability is much more than just a marketing device; it is a practice that ensures a healthy future for our lives and businesses.

PRH is located on the land known as Las Casas de la Selva, home to the Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry Project established 30 years ago by The Institute of Ecotechnics in the southern mountains adjacent to the Carite State Forest, in Patillas, Puerto Rico.

PRH was created and developed by Andrés Rúa and Thrity Vakil, also both Directors of Tropic Ventures Sustainable Forestry and Rainforest Enrichment Project. As founders of the Agroforestry Development Advisory Council (CADA), their broader vision is to promote sustainable forestry in Puerto Rico and convert unwanted trees into a valuable resource.

Here are some images from the award ceremony, 24th May 2016

Winners of Sustainability Award: Puerto Rico Hardwoods, and Crosstech
Above: L-R: Keila Lopez, Grupo Guayacan Program Manager, Andrés Rúa, CEO PR Hardwoods, 3t Vakil, President PR Hardwoods, Jose David Torres, Crosstech, Jose Humberto, Crosstech, and Francisco Uriarte, Chairman of Grupo Guayacan.

Below: All the semi-finalists on the night.

EnterPRize’s objective is to strengthen startups through a rigorous educational curriculum, mentoring and access to capital. In this 10th edition, EnterPRize broadens its offering through two phases focused on promising startups that are capable of growing locally and internationally. This new generation of entrepreneurs has the capacity of launching innovative projects with a global economic mindset and we’re proud to be part of the start of their entrepreneurial journey,” said Laura Cantero, Executive Director of Grupo Guayacán. EnterPRize seeks to identify startups and entrepreneurs with significant potential and to spur their development by providing access to the tools and resources they need to scale.

The PRH team: Alex Figueroa, Magha Garcia, Andrés Rúa, 3t Vakil, & Ricardo Valles. 2016

Grupo Guayacán, Inc. is a private sector driven non-profit organization founded in 1996 with a unique model that has coupled private equity investment with a series of programs aimed at developing, strengthening, and advancing Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Aireko Foundation’s vision is that Puerto Ricans develop and sustain leading organizations and enterprising initiatives recognized in and outside Puerto Rico for their sustainability. Our mission is to promote the development of individuals, businesses and non-governmental organizations in a measurable and sustainable manner in Puerto Rico, in order to achieve positive social, economic and environmental change. We value and support education, charity, entrepreneurship and solidarity, integrated with a dynamic search for sustainability.

Globalworks and Squaw Valley Preparatory School, April 2016

Globalworks provides intense adventure and service holidays for teenagers. We have collaborated with Globalworks since 2003, and we always have a great time, as well as getting a lot of work done! Twenty-two members, between 14 and 17 years of age, from the Squaw Valley Preparatory School, California, came to stay at Las Casas de la Selva with Scott Page, Director of Globalworks, Puerto Rico. Over a few days a huge amount of trailblazing was carried out, some cement work, and everyone partook in the salsa dance class with Yara Solis.. Thanks to Norman Greenhawk, who was the crew leader out in the forest. Thank you SVP staff Ms. Monica and Shana Boyd. Thanks to Hunter Banovich and Ms. Monica for their photos! Hope to see you all back here someday!

Mahoe Slabs now available (MNOPQRS)

MahoeLengthWidthThicknessBoard feetCostNotes
M681014.72$94.40SOLD
N73914.56$91.20SOLD
O84
11
16.41$128.20SOLD
MahoeLengthWidthThicknessBoard feetCostNotesNotes
P4273.256.63
$172.38
QuartersawnSOLD
Q464.753
4.55

$118.30
Quartersawn
R575
2
3.95
$102.70
QuartersawnSOLD
S65
3
2
2.70

$54.00
SOLD

Mahoe, Hibiscus elatus
All dimensions are in inches and all slabs are slightly larger than stated. All pieces have been planed on both sides. Ends are Anchor-sealed.
Shipping is not included, send an email for a quote.

Please include in your email to 3t@eyeontherainforest.org

1) Your shipping address.
2) Your shipping preference for a quote: USPS Priority (4-6 days) or USPS Retail Ground (14-18 days) .

We accept secure payments through Paypal.

Mahoe, Hibiscus elatus, is a large forest tree endemic to Jamaica, Cuba, and now naturalized in Puerto Rico. The straight stems of mature specimens can rise to a height of 80 feet, with trunk diameters of 12 to 18 inches, on favorable sites attaining diameters of 36 inches. Its relatively fast growth makes mahoe a highly suitable candidate for sustainable forestry management. The leaves are long-stalked heart-shaped, flowers are large and funnel shaped, usually red, but occasionally yellow or orange.
Mahoe is a moderately hard wood with a specific gravity of 0.58-0.62. The heartwood is very durable, highly resistant to attack by decay fungus, and resistant to subterranean termites. The fairly straight grain is richly variegated with shades of steely blues, metal grays, deep purples and pinks, olive greens and yellows, creams and browns, along with an elegant chatoyance in the wood. The narrow sapwood is pale white and subtly flecked, creating an attractive contrast with the heartwood. From reports and our own experience, the timber is generally easy to saw, plane, route, mould, mortise, carve, glue, nail, screw, sand, and turn, with a natural gloss in the wood when finished. It responds very well to both hand and machine tools in all woodworking operations. The wood has a musical quality and has been traditionally used in the making of cuatros, (puertorican guitars). Fine boxes, furnitures, inlay works, floors, details, turned pieces, exquisite jewelleries, sculptures, and ancient board games, have been, and demand to be transformed from the Mahoe. Architects, furniture-makers, designers, artists & wood lovers will find a charm in working with this wood.

SEE MORE MAHOE FOR SALE:APRIL MAHOE SLABSSERIES 7SERIES 8SERIES 9

Mahoe Series 7 April 2016

Mahoe Series 7LengthWidthThicknessBoard FeetCostNotes
7a245.251.251.09$21.80SOLD
7b25.551.251.10$22.00SOLD
7c28.755.251.251.31$26.20SOLD
7d31.581.252.18$43.60SOLD
7e435.2511.56$31.20SOLD
7f453.2511.64$32.80SOLD
7g495.750.751.46$29.20SOLD

Mahoe, Hibiscus elatus.
All dimensions are in inches and all slabs are slightly larger than stated. All pieces have been planed on both sides. Ends are Anchor-sealed.
Shipping is not included, send an email for a quote.

Please include in your email to 3t@eyeontherainforest. org
1) Your shipping address.
2) Your shipping preference for a quote: USPS Priority (4-6 days) or USPS Retail Ground (14-18 days) .

We accept secure payments through Paypal.

Mahoe, Hibiscus elatus, is a large forest tree endemic to Jamaica, Cuba, and now naturalized in Puerto Rico. The straight stems of mature specimens can rise to a height of 80 feet, with trunk diameters of 12 to 18 inches, on favorable sites attaining diameters of 36 inches. Its relatively fast growth makes mahoe a highly suitable candidate for sustainable forestry management. The leaves are long-stalked heart-shaped, flowers are large and funnel shaped, usually red, but occasionally yellow or orange.
Mahoe is a moderately hard wood with a specific gravity of 0.58-0.62. The heartwood is very durable, highly resistant to attack by decay fungus, and resistant to subterranean termites. The fairly straight grain is richly variegated with shades of steely blues, metal grays, deep purples and pinks, olive greens and yellows, creams and browns, along with an elegant chatoyance in the wood. The narrow sapwood is pale white and subtly flecked, creating an attractive contrast with the heartwood. From reports and our own experience, the timber is generally easy to saw, plane, route, mould, mortise, carve, glue, nail, screw, sand, and turn, with a natural gloss in the wood when finished. It responds very well to both hand and machine tools in all woodworking operations. The wood has a musical quality and has been traditionally used in the making of cuatros, (puertorican guitars). Fine boxes, furnitures, inlay works, floors, details, turned pieces, exquisite jewelleries, sculptures, and ancient board games, have been, and demand to be transformed from the Mahoe. Architects, furniture-makers, designers, artists & wood lovers will find a charm in working with this wood.

Q: Why is Mahoe sometimes called Blue Mahoe when it varies through so many colors? A: Because of its bluey green shades it was called Blue Mahoe to distinguish it from its relative, the seaside mahoe (Hibiscus tiliaceus L.) Above: images of Mahoe leaves, flowers, seeds, and trees.

April 2016 Mahoe (Hibiscus elatus) available

SUSTAINABLY GROWN AND HARVESTED HARDWOOD.

#LENGTHWIDTHTHICKNESSBOARD FEET$ $20 per bftNOTES
A44.571.252.70$54.00SOLD
B57101.254.94$98.80SOLD
C6571.253.94$78.80SOLD
D6771.254.07$81.40SOLD
E64.5101.255.59$111.80SOLD
F65.58.51.254.83$96.60SOLD One side (F2)few pin holes
G63.5813.52$70.40SOLD
H73914.56$91.20SOLD
I7471.254.49$89.80SOLD
J6081.254.20$84.00SOLD
K676.52.256.80$136.00SOLD
L5661.252.91$58.20SOLD
6a433.751.251.39$27.80SOLD
6b39.5411.09$21.80SOLD
6d3841.251.31$26.20SOLD
6e36.541.251.26$25.20SOLD
6f24410.66$13.20SOLD

All dimensions are in inches and all slabs are slightly larger than stated. All pieces have been planed on both sides.
Shipping is not included. We accept secure payments through Paypal.

Please include in your email to 3t@eyeontherainforest. org
1) Your shipping address.
2) Your shipping preference for a quote: Priority (8-12 days) or Standard Mail (14-18 days) .

Mahoe is the timber tree currently being harvested from 26 – 30yr old plantations at Las Casas de la Selva. Mahoe or Hibiscus elatus, (also known as “Blue Mahoe” for the characteristic coloration of its wood after milling), is a tree native to Jamaica and Cuba. A volunteer species, characteristic of open disturbed habitats and also found, due to its shade tolerance, as an understory tree in secondary forests, mahoe grows to 25 m tall and upwards of 100 cm DBH (KIMBER, 1970). It was recognized as a potentially important species for plantation and forest enrichment after a survey by Jamaican foresters (LONG, 1963 cited in KIMBER, 1970). It is an excellent wood with a rich variety of colors and attractive grain, but surprisingly, very little mahoe is currently being produced anywhere else. The first plantings in Puerto Rico were in the 1940s and it has been also been introduced to other Caribbean islands and Hawaii for evaluation. It has become naturalized in Mexico, Peru, Brazil, southern Florida and the West Indies (CHUDNOFF, 1982 cited in WEAVER, FRANCIS, n.d.)

BUY OUR MAHOE WOOD

Mahoe lumber (wood from the mill that requires no further processing) is $20.00 per board foot. Mahoe turning and carving blanks are $26.00 per board foot. Wood for sale may include some sapwood, and all ends are anchor-sealed. Mahoe can vary greatly in color from tree to tree, the blue tone does not tend to endure for many years. The wood transforms over time to shades of browns, purples, greys, and bluey-greens.

SEE MORE MAHOE FOR SALE: SERIES 7 SERIES 8 SERIES 9 MAHOE SLABS MNOPQRS

Dramatic Rainforest Adventures – short movie

Earthwatch Team 2015 with Stacey third from left. Thank you for a lovely reminder of our adventures together!

The Quest To Solve Wonders In The Rainforests Of Puerto Rico-Earthwatch Expedition

https://youtu.be/uilNnTt2T48

A video made by one of our 2015 Earthwatch volunteers, Stacie Stoffregen. Enjoy!…and she has said feel free to share it!

Montessori Schools from Puerto Rico and Boston – March 2016

These 13 and 14 year olds from Montessori schools in PR and US, braved the torrential rains of the Patillas mountain to join us at Las Casas de la Selva for a few days together, helping 3t with
re-potting nearly 200 tree seedlings, and they also learnt some woodworking skills with Ricardo and Alex. Andrés was chef, and provided us with yummy foods and a barbecue. Thank you all.

Instituto Nueva Escuela, Puerto Rico, Staff: L-R: Juan Jose Rodriguez Fernos, Alberto Viera Vargas, and Elsa Román.

INE Students: Erick García, Shaday Ruiz , Darian Cotto, Alleysha Nevárez, Evaliz Arroyo, Zulibeth León, Angélica Rodríguez, Imanol Dererme, Jeshua Guzmán.

Cambridge Montessori, Boston, Staff: Far Right: Joyce Nett and Genoveva Calvo-Rey.

CM Students:Wilson O’Brian, Adon G, Liliana Abramson, Finn Paquette, Gwyneth McLear, Eliza Austin, Mia Bawendi, Derek Hansen, Eve Meyer.