MERBAU TIMBER DECKS Sustainability? > Bad

Merbau Timber Sustainability

The Hidden Damage Caused By Merbau Decks In Australia

Orangutan family endangered
Orangutan families are losing their homes and populations are becoming extinct just so we can improve our homes and have a nice looking deck! – Ridiculous!

“Merbau is not only considered an endangered species, at the prevailing rate of indiscriminate usage it will also be extinct within the next 35 years.”

Does this sound like a 
Sustainable timber to you?
Come on Australia, we can do better than this. PLEASE READ ON!

What about the animals?
Does anyone care?
Or do you just love your new deck & not aware where it came from?

“I looked into the eyes of this vulnerable orangutan and pledged to do something to be part of the solution.”

Learn more about Tracey Bailey’s story here.

Click the link above to learn more about Tracey’s business, helping the rainforest by buying sustainable products.

Why not use Merbau?

  • The destruction of large forest areas to get just one tree is shocking!
  • It doesn’t grow easily in plantations.
  • The small Islands of Indonesia cannot sustain this continued destruction
  • It is very difficult to enforce any laws put in place.
  • Logs are often smuggled over near-by borders or officials are paid off to turn a blind eye.
  • It is rapidly causing the extinction of beautiful defenceless animals
  • Not only losing their homes – THEIR SPECIES IS BEING WIPED OUT!

Where there is big money involved it will only continue.


I think it’s important to get the word out about the sustainability issues & damage from Merbau timber as many people are not aware of the destruction caused by the continued importation of this timber species to Australia.

Please read then share this post.

Merbau seems to be a very popular choice here in Australia
– DIYer’s walk into their local hardware store looking to build a deck and don’t know better!
The sales staff will probably point you in the direction of the Merbau racks without a second thought.

CHANGE IS UP TO YOU – Your choice of decking timber can help
So what can we do?  – Education and choice when purchasing is the key to this change, we must make change happen through the choices we make when building decks and other outdoor projects.
Get the FACTS right before making a decision based on price and colour alone!

Do we trust them when they tell you it’s sustainable and being managed? – IT’S NOT!

Don’t just take my word for it, you can read more here.
Making The Right Timber Choices – Burke’s Backyard

“Australians love entertaining in the great outdoors and have a strong affinity with using natural products such as timber. However, many home gardeners or tradesmen are unaware of the origin of the timber we use and, sadly, too much comes from illegal logging in tropical rain-forest areas.”

Photo of Sumatran Orangutan with child photo from GRASP
Sumatran Orangutan with child.

(Pongo abelii) statistics

Range State: Indonesia
Population: 6,600 (est.)
Conservation status: Critically Endangered!

If forest destruction is not enough to change your mind just look at the photo above and think about what you’re doing to these beautiful creatures, it’s their homes and families being destroyed – just so we can improve our homes!?
Is this how you want to live on this planet? > Just so you can have a nice deck?

What’s the alternative?

There are plenty of alternative decking timbers, take Spotted Gum for example.

Spotted Gum Plantation Timber trees

Spotted Gum makes great timber!
Close up of spotted gum timber boards
Spotted Gum Timber Boards are a nice dense timber, perfect for decks, very hard wearing.

And if you want it to look more red in colour, like Merbau, just use my highly recommended oil with tint.
Organoil Decking Oil

More info about the Orangutans here at the Great Apes Survival Project

Ooops!  – I think our deck is Merbau, what should I do?

If you already have a Merbau deck then please don’t feel too bad, (many Australians do) just make it a priority to encourage others to choose differently if they are thinking about building a deck like yours. And don’t make the same mistake next time, where there is money being spent on this timber the destruction will only continue.

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD < That’s all I ask.

It’s up to us to take a stand. Many states in America have already banned it from being imported. It’s time Australians woke up to ourselves. If everyone knew about the damage we are causing I think more people would seek alternatives.  If you have any ideas how you can help I welcome your thoughts.

Merbau is not the only timber harvested using devastating logging operations, no doubt there’s a lot of it going on, but the one thing we can do here is stop buying it, this will reduce the demand for Merbau and will help the Orangutans.

Even if the illegal logging trade continues, we should do our part as a nation to at least try to stop it don’t you think?

Shop local & support Australian families.
Don’t buy timber products from offshore when we have what we need right here already.

Andrew Wilkerson

merbau-decks, sustainability, environmentally-friendly-timbers, merbau-alternatives, forest-destruction, orangutans, timber-decks, conservation, merbau, timber-sustainability

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A small commision may be made by me if you click through and buy from this sustainable Australian business > biome.
It would be a great help to me to keep spreading awareness on this blog, Thank You!

They are also a great online shop with really interesting products. Enjoy.

Andrew Wilkerson


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4 thoughts on “MERBAU TIMBER DECKS Sustainability? > Bad”

  1. Hi. Yes, interesting article. I’m looking to build a small fence in my garden area, using wood. I may go for bamboo, yet, which my neighbour has in abundant quantities. I read an ariicle about how a well known big green shed mob, have come up with agreements with WWF and Papuan merbau suppoiers. Their argument is, if they are not involved, then the trees will still get harvested and sold illegally. What are your thoughts? I agree with your article.

  2. Good on you for calling this out. Too many Aussies buying timber without a second thought for where it’s come from. If they could see what destruction produced their Timbers they would make alternative choices.

    • Thanks Peter for your encouraging comment and for reading my blog. Yes it’s a shame more people aren’t aware. Another problem here is we want to lock up all the local forests, even the ones that have been sustainably managed here in Victoria for years, this only increases the demand for timber from off-shore, destroying forests that aren’t managed sustainably overseas and creating demand for timber from corrupt and unmanaged sources while destroying local jobs and industry. It’s not a problem that’s easily fixed but shutting down our local mills and restricting them is not the answer. Timber is a great re-newable resource. We are not running out of trees here in Victoria despite what some people will tell you. The local mill here in Heyfield is now suffering as a result of bad decisions and a continued adjustment to what they consider ‘old growth forests’ it’s been going on for years.


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