The Big-leafed mahogany is a giant tree found in both wet and dry tropical forests in Central America and within Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru and Venezuela in South America. It is named after its huge leaves which can grow to a length of over 50 cm.
It is one of the most precious of tropical hardwoods, with rich, red timber. It is used for furniture, panelling, lumber and has technical qualities that make it just right for making a range of musical instruments. Over-exploitation has led to an estimated 70% population decline in the past 70 years.
The habitat of this species, tropical dry forest, has suffered from extensive losses in recent years. In Colombia tropical dry forests are one of the countries most threatened ecosystems, only 8% of its original extent remains, and few areas are protected.
Funding will enable restoration actions to take place in degraded tropical forests of the Caribbean region of Colombia.
Genetically representative propagation material will be collected during botanical surveys. It is estimated that 25,000 trees could be planted back into the wild.
Stakeholder engagement with local landowners will take place with the aim to create private conservation areas. This model has worked successfully in other areas of Colombia.