Ramin is the common trade name given to a number of light coloured tropical hardwood tree species native to the peat swamp forests of Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatra), Malaysia (Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak), Singapore, Solomon Islands and The Philippines.
Ramin wood is prized for its fine grain and easy working qualities and the main products in trade are picture frames, pool cues, blinds, tool handles and decorative mouldings. The major importing countries are China, USA and Italy.
Concern has arisen about the over-exploitation of ramin, particularly from prime orang-utan habitats and Protected Reserves in Southeast Asia . Ramin is now listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which regulates the international trade in species threatened through trade. This means that a permit is needed to import certain parts and derivatives of ramin into the UK. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has been designated as the UK CITES Scientific Authority for plants. As such, its role is to provide scientific advice to the UK government on plants in trade and assist enforcement agencies, such as HM Revenue and Customs, to implement CITES not only within the UK, but at the European and international level.
Find out more
Search Kew's electronic Plant Information Centre for scientific information about Gonystylus species
CITES webpage (maintained by the Defra, Kew and JNCC)
Illegal Logging information (maintained by the Sustainable Development Programme of Chatham House)
European Wildlife Trade Regulations (these implement CITES within the 25 member States of the EU)