Anticipating the weak demand for Tin Phuket started a plan to diversify their natural resources by planting rubber trees. Today rubber trees cover over 33% of Phuket's land area.
Rubber is made from the tree's latex and is extracted by making incisions in a lefthanded spiral down the trees trunk. The latex runs through numerous latex vessels in the Para tree's bark. The latext slowly runs down the spiral and is collected in a small cup. The latex is then treated with acid and pressed to remove the water. It is then
Facts about Phuket Thailand's Rubber Trees:
- The rubber tree's real name is a Para Tree or Hevea brasiliensis
- Para Trees are planted about four meters apart and in rows.
- The first rubber tree was planed in Trang by Phraya Ratsadanupradit in 1899.
- In the early 1980's U.S. consumption of natural rubber was only 280,000 metric tons compared to over 2,000,000 metric tons of synthetic rubber.
- Natural Rubber is used to make auto and plane tires.
- Thailand exports over 90 billion baht worth of rubber each year.
- Thailand jump started their rubber industry by sailing to Dutch Indonesia and taking four baby hybrid rubber trees and planting them in Trang.
- Rubber got it's name because it could "rub out" pencil markings.
- Rubber trees were imported from South America by colonials.