It's All About the Details
All trees harvested from Exomad’s forests have been pre-selected by the ABT, the governing body in charge of ensuring the sustainability of Boliva’s wood industry. Under the threat of stiff penalties by the government of Bolivia, Exomad is allowed only to harvest trees selected by the ABT, a rigid process monitored by frequest inspections, both within the forests and during transport of the wood at more than 20 checkpoints throughout Bolivia.
Exomad’s forests are divided into sections; each section of each forest is harvestable only once every twenty years. Within each section, trees identified as ready for extraction by the ABT are given an identifying number and are tracked by GPS. The selected trees are marked by silver plates that Exomad's foresters use to identify the tree, both before they’ve harvested it and after, as each log is marked throughout transport with its unique number assigned by the ABT. Each tree extracted from our forests can be tracked from its original location to its final destination based on its unique identifying number.
Once Exomad has completed harvesting the approved trees from a specific section of forest, that section of forest lies dormant for the next twenty years. Numerous seedling trees selected by the ABT are left within the section to repopulate the area, while young growth trees benefit from the additional light in the forest resulting from the extraction of larger trees.
Designated specialists in the felling of trees are tasked with sawing each tree in a manner that ensures safety of our workers and of the surrounding area. A single forester saws the perimeter of the tree while a support team waits in anticipation of the fall. A increase of light to the remaining foliage and small growth trees is immediately apparent when older growth trees are felled.
The felled tree is divided into large sections by the Exomad crew. Each section of the tree is marked by its identifying number (assigned by the ABT) and a letter corresponding to the unique section of the tree. This number will be used to identify each piece of wood until it arrives at its final destination. Tree sections are removed from the forest by machines that use minimally invasive, narrow pathways to carry the sawn sections back to the forest's staging area.
Each section of the tree is measured, registered and selected for use as sawn timber or veneer. The reports are saved and delivered to the ABT, who will do an additional inspection of the forest to confirm that only pre-approved trees have been extracted. Logs are stacked in sections in preparation for loading to a truck and transport to either a saw mill (for sawn timber) or to a veneer factory.
Logs selected for the production of veneer are brought to a specialized factory in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Here, the treatment of the wood includes boiling the logs for nearly 48 hours, then clearing the outer layer by hatchet. Once fully prepared, the logs are loaded onto one of various machines designed to slice the wood into ultra-thin pieces – exactly 0.5mm in thickness each. The sliced veneer pieces are then sent through an industrial dryer, which prepares them for final cutting and shipment.
Logs selected for use as sawn timber are brought to one of Exomad's saw mills, including the one pictured here in Concepcion, Bolivia. Teams of workers use industrial grade band saws to hone the logs into usable timber. Each blade, approximately 15 meters in length, is subjected to the rigorous demands of cutting full logs and must be sharpened five times per day by a on-site specialist. Prepared timber is marked, stacked and loaded onto trucks for delivery to the Exomad's warehouse.
Export pallets of both veneer and sawn timber are prepared for export according to international standards, then loaded into containers. Exomad's fleet of trucks will bring pallets of finished wood throughout Bolivia, stopping at frequent checkpoints to exhibit their cargo to rigorous inspection by the ABT until their final destination in the ports of Arica and Iquique, Chile where the containers are then loaded to the vessels.