East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis) – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Tree Types Glossary

I. What is East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis)?

East African Camphorwood, scientifically known as Ocotea Usambarensis, is a species of tree native to East Africa. It belongs to the Lauraceae family and is commonly found in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. The tree is known for its aromatic wood, which has a camphor-like scent, hence the name “Camphorwood.”

II. Where is East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis) found?

East African Camphorwood trees are primarily found in the Usambara Mountains in Tanzania, where they thrive in the moist, tropical climate of the region. They can also be found in other parts of East Africa, including the coastal forests of Kenya and Uganda. These trees prefer altitudes ranging from 800 to 2,000 meters above sea level and are often found growing in mixed forests alongside other tree species.

III. What are the characteristics of East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis)?

East African Camphorwood trees are medium to large-sized, reaching heights of up to 30 meters. They have a straight trunk with a smooth, grayish bark. The leaves are dark green and glossy, with a lanceolate shape. The wood of the tree is highly valued for its aromatic properties, resembling the scent of camphor. The heartwood is a pale yellow to brown color, while the sapwood is lighter in color.

IV. How is East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis) used?

The wood of the East African Camphorwood tree is highly prized for its aromatic properties and is commonly used in the production of furniture, carvings, and essential oils. The wood is known for its durability and resistance to pests, making it a popular choice for high-quality furniture. The essential oil extracted from the wood is used in perfumery and aromatherapy due to its pleasant scent and therapeutic properties.

V. What are the conservation efforts for East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis)?

Due to the high demand for East African Camphorwood and the threat of deforestation, conservation efforts have been put in place to protect the species. In Tanzania, the Usambara Mountains are designated as a protected area to preserve the natural habitat of the trees. Sustainable harvesting practices are also being promoted to ensure the long-term survival of the species. Additionally, research is being conducted to better understand the ecology of the trees and their role in the ecosystem.

VI. What are the potential threats to East African Camphorwood (Ocotea Usambarensis)?

Despite conservation efforts, East African Camphorwood trees face several threats to their survival. Deforestation, illegal logging, and habitat destruction are major concerns that continue to put pressure on the species. Climate change and invasive species also pose risks to the trees and their natural habitat. It is crucial to address these threats through sustainable management practices and increased awareness of the importance of preserving the East African Camphorwood trees for future generations.