Assessing the performance of Lesser Known Species of timber at Pevensey Bay

Published 12 September 2021

An assessment of Lesser Known Species (LKS) of tropical timber has taken place by Dr John Williams of RSK Environment Ltd, at Pevensey as part of an Environment Agency study.

Historically, the Environment Agency and Local Authorities have favoured a narrow range of “tried and tested” tropical hardwood timbers for groyne construction, with greenheart and ekki (Lophira alata) being the prominent timbers of choice.

In 2007, the Environment Agency embarked on a research project which had the objectives of identifying suitable LKS of tropical hardwood for use in marine construction. This was achieved by screening candidate timber species in a series of fast track laboratory trials to evaluate marine borer resistance and resistance to abrasion. Promising LKS were then exposed in marine field trials. A limited number of species were further evaluated in order to determine their strength properties. One outcome of this research was the selection of three LKS of tropical hardwood for use on experimental groyne GP10 located on the beach at Pevensey Bay.

The three LKS selected all originate from West Africa and were available with full FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification to prove the timber was sustainable and legal. The species were:

  • Tali: (Erythrophleum ivorense)
  • Souge: (Parinari excelsa)
  • Niove: (Staudtia kamerunensis)

RSK was instructed to undertake an assessment of the performance of the three lesser known species (LKS) of tropical hardwood used as planking on the experimental groyne. The performance of these LKS was compared against greenheart timber which is a timber species heavily favoured by designers. Findings show that the three LKS used without formal Strength Class data are performing well.

For more information please see the report: