Hurricane Maria in 2017 killed many of the Pine trees (Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis, known as Caribbean Pitch Pine or Honduras Pine) on the 600m elevation ridge-tops of Las Casas, and they are dead but standing.
In March 2020, the team from Puerto Rico Hardwoods closed the wood-yard in Caguas and spent the day bringing down standing dead Caribbean pine trees. This wood was milled into 2x4s for a special project. This was a great opportunity for training the crew in directional felling, using ropes, and learning about harvesting trees, and all the safety procedures. The crew were trained by, led by Andrés Rúa, and Rafael Pérez.
Pinus caribaea was planted at Las Casas de la Selva in the early 80s, favored by the PR Department of Natural Resources, and chosen for its fast growth, and ability to grow on virtually all soil types. The soil on the ridges are clay and the land was heavily grazed for many years. Now 35 years later, in 2020, we can see that the trees did grow fast and well, but unfortunately there would never be a market for the wood in Puerto Rico. 3t and Andrés have been trying for many years to create a market for the pine, have used it on several projects, but its sale has been limited.
About this pine: Pinus caribaea var. hondurensis was introduced into Puerto Rico in 1959, and was introduced intentionally to be used for erosion control, and as windbreaks. The heartwood is a golden yellow to brown, with highly defined straight grain, and a light yellow sapwood. Straight resinous canals streak the wood. The wood exudes a large amount of resin, making it less suitable for joinery and flooring, and limiting its value as a timber. Nevertheless, it is used for a wide range of purposes, including construction, light flooring, joinery, inexpensive furniture, boxes, pallets, turnery, toys and, has in other countries been used after treatment with preservatives, for poles, posts, and railway sleepers.
Group pic on logs: Back, L-R: Ariza Torres, Omar Garcia, Abraham A. Sanchez Cuprill,
Front, L-R: Rafael Pérez Antonetti, 3t Vakil, and Xavier Arroyo.