Acacia mangium is commonly known as brown salwood (PDF). It is a fast-growing single-stemmed evergreen tree, attaining a height of 35 metres. It is native to northeastern Queensland in Australia, the Maluku Islands of Indonesia, and western Papua-New Guinea.
Its quick growth, nitrogen-fixing properties and tolerance of poor soil enhance its value as a crop. Despite the rapid growth, Acacia mangium wood is dense and hard (though somewhat prone to cracking). Its attractiveness makes it useful for finishing work and fine furniture, while its density makes it useful for charcoal. It has become widely-used for large-scale pulp and paper production in the humid tropics of Asia, cultivated in areas such as Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam as well as its native Indonesia. The ecological consequence of this vast cultivation (via replacement of primary native forests) is addressed in some 2014 news articles–see “Fibre production drives deforestation in Indonesia” (via Nature News) and “Rate of deforestation in Indonesia overtakes Brazil, says study” (via The Guardian).
The extensive clearing of these forests threatens biodiversity as well as significantly contributing to global carbon emissions (see: Abood, S. et al. (2014). Relative contributions of the logging, fibre, oil palm, and mining industries to forest loss in Indonesia. Conservation Letters. doi: 10.111/conl.12103.). Interestingly, as of 2014, displacement of natural forest purposefully for palm oil production in Indonesia ranked third in terms of relative impact after fibre plantations and logging.
Although widespread planting of the tree is causing habitat loss in many areas, it has also been used to reclaim land degraded by mining or other depleted sites. Fast growth and dense evergreen foliage make it a cover tree for crops that like shade–trials are being done for the production of cocoa–and its extensive nitrogen-fixing root system improves soil fertility. The tree is also being promoted as an ornamental and for shelterbelts. Germinating seeds can be eaten and young shoots are used for livestock fodder, while the fruit can be used as a dye source.