As the sustainable supply of teak from natural forests (now almost exclusively from Myanmar) diminishes and the demand continues to increase, the general trend in the future of teak growing will be towards increasing production and utilization of plantation-grown teak. This suggests a need for more private investment in plantations and enhanced knowledge regarding diverse aspects of teak plantation establishment as well as silviculture, management, utilization and ecological aspects of both plantations and natural stands. In particular in the move towards short-rotation plantation-grown teak. Research is being done on the effects of pruning on growth and wood quality, the effects on the site, of growing teak in mixed plantations (where experiments established in the past might be re-evaluated) and the environmental impacts and sustainability of productivity of short-rotation plantations, including the differences in yield or timber properties from second or subsequent rotations.
Several countries are interested in improving financial returns from teak plantations through utilization of thinnings and small roundwood. To this end studies are being conducted on conversion techniques for small round-wood, techniques for reconstituting small sawnwood as larger material, and market opportunities for small-dimension timber or components.
The increasing importance of plantations in teak production suggests varying prospects for other valuable hardwood species in terms of future commercial timber production. Species that adapt readily to plantation management, such as mahogany, should continue to be important sources of high-quality timber. Those that are less ecologically robust or that perform poorly under intensive management regimes are likely to be marginalized as commercial wood producing species. Thus, in the long term, it is likely that a handful of tropical hardwoods, including teak and mahogany, will occupy niches at the high end of solidwood markets, while the range of competing species is likely to be significantly reduced.