Styrax tonkinenis: taxonomy, ecology, silviculture and uses
Styrax tonkinensis is a fast growing tropical species that occurs naturally in the forests of northern Laos and Vietnam, but is also cultivated in plantations. It is an economically important species for these countries as it has a high reproductive capacity, and is relatively free of pests and disease problems. It has a wide variety of uses, the most important being wood fibre for pulp and paper mills. In addition, an important non-wood product from S. Tonkinensis is the benzoin resin, which was used in the perfume industry as a fixative, and despite a decline in the demand for natural fixatives in the last couple of decades, there is renewed interest in benzoin resin and essential oils which will provide an important source of income for the highland Lao people. This concise report outlines the natural distribution, ecology, silviculture, and products and uses of S. Tonkinensis, and is an important source of information for forestry departments in Australia, Laos and Vietnam.