Journey of a Hardwood

Journey of a Hardwood

Help students understand the lengthy journey Brazilian rosewood, a tropical hardwood, might take from tree to product.


5 - 8


Biology, Earth Science, Engineering, Geography

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Idea for Use in the Classroom

The Brazilian rosewood (Dalbergia nigra) is a tree in South America that can grow up to 38 meters (125 feet) tall. The lumber, which is reddish- or purplish-brown in color, is often harvested for the construction of musical instruments and furniture.

Have students examine the infographic and identify the native environment of the tree. Then have students describe how the trees are legally harvested. Ask: Why do you think the infographic emphasizes legal harvesting? Have students summarize the six-step process that transforms tree to product and explain which step most likely requires the greatest amount of time. Have students make connections to other products that go through a similar process. Ask: What types of products can these trees be turned into? Have students discuss the products this wood is used for and what they can conclude about Brazilian rosewood overall based on the way its wood is used commercially. Finally, ask students to explain some of the problems that can occur with rosewood and other hardwood harvesting. Ask: What global impacts can result from this harvesting?

After the discussion, have students create a brochure that could be used in a furniture or music store depicting a product made from Brazilian rosewood. In the brochure, have students describe the product and include information about the Brazilian rosewood, the benefits of using it for crafting the product, and how the product was made.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Tyson Brown, National Geographic Society
National Geographic Society
Production Managers
Gina Borgia, National Geographic Society
Jeanna Sullivan, National Geographic Society
Program Specialists
Sarah Appleton, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Margot Willis, National Geographic Society
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

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