Species: E. zwageri
Teysm. & Binnend.
Eusideroxylon zwageri, is one of the four species of the genus. The other three species it may be confused with are Eusideroxylon borneense, Eusideroxylon melagangai and Eusideroxylon lauriflora. It is known colloquially in English as Borneo ironwood and occasionally bilian ironwood or bilian. Other Common Names include Tambulian Tagalog, kayu ulin and belian Indonesian and belian and its corruption in modern Malaysian: bilian. In French it is known as: Bois de fer and in German: Borneo Eisenholz. Some less common names include: Im muk, Ong len (both Chinese); Tulian, Tebelian, Sakian, Biliran: all regional vernacular corruptions of belian and tambulian. Sulawesi shipbuilders often refer to the wood as kayo bado (Modern Indonesian: kayu bada: "inexpressible ([sic wonderful] wood") (or kayo sappu: "broom wood").
It is endemic to Brunei; Flores, Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra in Indonesia; the Sabah and Sarawak states of Malaysia; and the Sulu archipelago of the Philippines. It is threatened by habitat loss. The government of Indonesia and the state government of Sarawak have formally banned the export of this species. Illegal smuggling especially by migrant Chinese continues to be major problem.
This very important tree is one of the most durable and heaviest timbers in the world. It is now threatened by over-exploitation, lack of regeneration and difficulties in cultivation.
* 1 Appearance and Growth
* 2 Habitat and Distribution
* 3 Silviculture
* 4 Properties
* 5 Usage
* 6 Endangered Status
* 7 Trade
* 8 Malaysian Timber Theft
* 9 Indigenous Beliefs
* 10 References
* 11 Additional References
* 12 External links
 Appearance and Growth
Eusideroxylon zwageri henceforth referred to as belian, is a slow growing tall evergreen tree with a straight bole (usually host to Cassytha a parasitic vine with leaves reduced to scales up to half of the tree height. It is slightly fluted at the base, up to 150–220 cm in diameter. The trunk has many small, rounded buttresses that give the base and elephant-foot like appearance. Belian can grow to attain over 1000 years of age. Common commercially exploitable trees attains a height of 30 or more metres (100 ft) with trunk diameters of exploitable trees up to 92 cm (36 inches). Protected trees are towering giants of the forest attaining a height of up to 50 metres and a diameter of 220 cm- though height is routinely reduced by lightening strike.
The belian trees' leaves are dark green, simple, leathery, elliptical to ovate, 14-18 long (5.5-7.5 inches) and 5–11 cm wide (2-4 inches), and are alternate, rarely whorled or opposite, without stipules and petiolate . The Leaf blade is unlobed (unlobed or lobed in Sassafras ) the margins entire and occasionally with domatia (crevices or hollows serving as lodging for mites) in axils of main lateral veins (in Cinnamomum ).
Inflorescences in axils of leaves or deciduous bracts include, panicles (rarely heads), racemes , compound cymes, or pseudoumbels (spikes in Cassytha ), sometimes enclosed by decussate bracts. The flowers of the belian are bisexual only or staminate and bisexual on some plants, pistillate and bisexual on others. The flowers are usually yellow to greenish or white, rarely reddish. The hypanthium are well-developed, resembling calyx tube tepals and the stamens perigynous. The tepals are in groups of 6 to 9, in 2 or 3 whorls of 3 and sepaloid. If tepals are unequal will then usually possess 3 outer smaller rather than inner 3. This is occasionally absent in Litsea. The stamens are in groups of 3n and in whorls of 3, but 1 or more whorls frequently staminodial or absent. The stamens of the third whorl has 2 glands near base, There are 2-4 locular, with locules opening by valves.
There is one pistil and one carpellate. Thre is one locular ovary of placentation basal; one ovule; stigma subsessile , discoid or capitate. The fruits drupes, drupe borne on pedicel with or without persistent tepals at base, or seated in ± deeply cup-shaped receptacle (cupule), or enclosed in accrescent floral tube . In the fruit there is one seed with endosperm absent. The fruits are poisonous to humans but have medicinal properties.
The parasite vine, Cassytha is sometimes placed in its own family, Cassythaceae.
 Habitat and Distribution
It grows in lowland primary and secondary forest up to 500m altitude. It prefers well-drained soils, sandy to clay-loam, sometimes limestone. It is commonly found along rivers and adjacent hills. It requires an average annual rainfall of 2500–4000 mm. It occurs scattered or is gregarious. Seedlings require some shade, while older trees need plenty of light. It can be found in valleys and on hillsides and even on low ridges when soil moisture is sufficient at elevations between sea level and 625 m. The standing timber volume of trees with a diameter of over 50 cm may be as much as 90-112 m3.
It is native and endemic to occurs Indonesia: in Java and eastern and southern Sumatra and all areas suitable in Kalimantan; Bangka, Belitung, Sabah and Sarawak of Malaysia (also known as Northern Borneo) and the Sulu archipelago and Palawan of the Philippines.
The belian has a very slow growth rate of mean radial growth of 0.058 cm per year. The belian is a canopy species in primary forests. The species is considered unsuitable for large-scale plantations due to slow growth and inadequate seed and seedling supply. Manual selection of trees in natural forests is common.
The heartwood when cut is coloured light brown to almost bright yellow. During the aging process the heartwood darkens to deep reddish brown, very dark brown or almost black. The sapwood is bright yellow, when cut and darkens slightly. The wood texture is fine and even, with a straight grain or only slightly interlocked. The timber retains a pleasant lemon odour. This odour along with the woods' natural high lustre make it prized by cabinet-makers and fine furniture craftsmen.
The wood is dense (0.85 – 1.1 g/cm³)? and texture is moderately fine to fine and even. Also attractive to users is the belian's resistance to insects, bacteria, fungi and marine borers. The wood has anti-bacterial properties (for local medicinal use) Vessels are diffuse-porous, medium-sized and generally evenly distributed, arranged in short radial rows (2-3 vessels). Moderate abundancy of aliform paratracheal parenchyma. Growth rings boundaries are indistinct or absent. Tyloses are often present.
The [belian has a radial shrinkage rate of 2-4.5% and an tangential shrinkage rate of tangential 4.5-7.5%. The timber dries slowly and care is needed to avoid checks and splits
The belian wood is famed for its' easy working characteristics, despite high density. The wood planes, bores and turns cleanly producing smooth and often lustrous surfaces. Nailing requires pre-bores prior to nailing. Saw blades and cutting instruments are only moderate blunted during working the timber. Apparently, belian wood is difficult to glue with synthetic resins.
Durability: heartwood is rated as very durable – immune to termite attack; service life of up to 100 years in direct soil contact and more than 20 years for marine work in tropical waters has been reported
Due to the excellent resistance to bacterial, fungal, insect and marine borer attack the wood is highly prized for many outdoor uses. Additionally, the belian wood's high density and easy workability lend it to particularly desirability in maritime structures, dock construction and ship building, especially Indonesia's famous pinisi sail-boat. Common local uses include: House construction, door construction, water butts and troughs, boat building (Pinisi), tools, tool handles, talisman, jewellery, medicinal slivers(for wounds, cuts, abrasions, bites and tooth-ache/infection), bridges, blowpipes? and spear shafts.
Internationally, it is renowned for heavy construction such as a buffer between transportation trailers and heavy steel fabrications (such as boilers, pressure vessels, reactors and many others). It is also frequently found in dry docks as a timber to separate the hull of ships from the steel supporting stands. Other uses include use in boats and ships, industrial flooring, roofing (as shingles), fine indoor and outdoor furniture, coffin wood (esteemed by Chinese due to ability to withstand rot and insect attack) and tool handles (especially those exposed to continual high impact (belian wood does not splinter and thus injure hands, eyes or endanger the operator on catastrophic failure) such as shovels, axes, block splitters, sledge hammers, heavy mallets, demolition hammers, mattocks, picks, hoes] and hammers). Some expert cabinet-makers treasure a belian-headed carpenter's mallet as an excellent intermediate density hammer face between the usual wood and a metal one- and is able to quite easily tap or "whack" stubborn highly-polished metal fixtures without damage to the face or the fixture.
Other sources indicate belian often used for marine constructions such as pilings, wharfs, docks, sluices, dams, ships, bridges, but also used for power line poles, masts, roof shingles and house posts and to a minor extent as frame, board, heavy duty flooring, railway sleepers, fencing material, furniture etc.
 Endangered Status
The decline of berlian which was first noted in 1955. Browne (1955) stated: “Our surviving supplies of Belian are by no means very large and undoubtedly dwindling.” Population reduction has been noted in the following regions: Kalimantan, Sumatra, Sabah, Sarawak and the Philippines. IUCN has categorized it Vulnerable A1cd and A2cd. CITES listed II Bi (unsustainable level of exploitation from the wild for international trade). Regeneration in logged-over forests is limited.
The species is threatened by over-exploitation, predominantly by illegal migrant loggers. Current demand for the timber is fueled for its esteem among Chinese as a coffin wood (as it is resistant to insect and rot). Included in list of vanishing timber species of the Philippines and considered almost extinct in Sabah. In Java and Sumateera it exists solely in National Parks. Currently the situation is assessed as a serious depletion of stands. The species is only planted on a small scale because the supply of seeds and seedlings is inadequate. The world-famous ITB Bogor Agricultural Institute (Insitut Pertanian Bogor)( os currently breeding a generation of plants more hardy than the wild harvested seeds 
Indonesia has a total prohibition on the export of belian and cutting is restricted to trees less than 60 cm diameter measured at breast height. In Sarawak export in any form is not allowed without special permission. Sabah still allows export.
 Malaysian Timber Theft
The bulk of all belian wood is found in Kalimantan, bordering the Malaysian states of almost exhausted Sabah and essentially extinct tracts of Sarawak Motivated by the high price per cubic metre, Malaysian illegal loggers have been documented felling, transporting via river and river barge Indonesian protected trees into bordering Sabah.
In addition to the issue surrounding the sovereignty of the Andaman Islands and continuing spats over the delineation of Malaysian-Indonesian borders- this outraged the Indonesian public, who had been educated to conserve and protect this tree on pain of severe penalty rioted in protest in Jakarta and Pontianak and publicly called for the resurrection of the Crush Malaysia policy known as Ganyang Melayu albeit terming Ganyang Maling-sia (Maling: Indonesian and Malaysian for a common thief).
The government of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono dispatched heavily armed Forestry Wardens to deter the thieves. It is expected this issue will be one of the foremost challenges of the winner of the 2009 Indonesian Presidential Election, with the winner expected to take a far stronger and militant stand on Malaysian theft of resources.
 Indigenous Beliefs
Many Dayak believe that the belian wood acts as a protective talisman to avoid attack from tigers and elephants. The Dayak believe that this use of the belian talisman and the stands of belian trees was and is the sole cause of a lack of Sumatran elephants or Sumatran Tigers in Kalimantan and Sarawak. The potent 'elephant and tiger repellent' is alleged to be the belian sap (which has a strong, pleasant lemon-like odour).
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