Teak was first introduced in the fourth century and has been used worldwide since its use for shipbuilding during the Middle Ages. During the 19th century teak furniture became popular for its exemplary functioning outdoors. Today it is used primarily for the decks, trim and detail work in yachts and cruise ships, residential and commercial flooring, carving, cabinetry, paneling, the construction of homes and in the creation of beautiful, durable furniture.
Teak is a deciduous tree that flourishes in the dry, hilly forests of <placew:ston>Southeast Asia. The tree grows rapidly to approximately 150 feet tall with trunks that are cylindrical to fluted and grow up to 5 feet in diameter. While the tree shoots up quickly, it takes nearly 50 years to reach full maturity. The possibility of increasing this 50 year rotation to every 30 or 40 years has been discussed in many countries in an effort to meet the high demand of teak, but experimentation with 25 year rotations has resulted with an inferior quality wood. In Java, Indonesia several plantation forests have flourished with teak trees in the past 150 years. The plantations provide a valuable source of income for local areas and provide employment to thousands of local people. These plantations are government regulated by the agency Perum Perhutani to ensure that the correct number and size of trees are being felled, and to ensure the proper re-planting of trees to maintain the productivity of forests for future generations. Similar agencies are forming in Thailand, Burma and Laos to help control poaching, exploitation of children in furniture factories, and reforestation.