Mesquite is actually a member of the legume family, making it a shrub, not a tree. Ranchers have long considered mesquite a nuisance, or trash tree, for generations and have tried many different ways to eliminate it from their land. Creating a viable market for mesquite could help to reduce this practice.
Virtually nothing from a mesquite tree is wasted. The beans are high in sugar and proteins and make good cattle feed, another product to sell. Native Americans discovered many medicinal uses for the beans as well. Tea made from the beans is said to be a good antiseptic for superficial wounds and to settle the stomach. The limbs are cut into end grain blocks that make beautiful flooring patterns. The larger limbs and trunks are sawn into lumber for cabinets, furniture and flooring. The fall off and waste is made into mesquite chunks for the BBQ industry. Finally the burl from the stumps makes beautiful material for artisans to do turnings and decorative pieces.
No heavy industry is required to produce any of the products mentioned above and there are no toxic by-products to pollute the environment.
Historically, in Central and South America, mesquite was harvested primarily for firewood and charcoal. Beautiful old growth trees were being cut down to turn into firewood. It takes four tons of wood to make one ton of charcoal. By developing a market for mesquite lumber, the people who harvest mesquite can sell it for a significantly higher price than before. This has created a completely new industry in all the Americas as well as a more productive use of a valuable resource. In addition, since mesquite grows in arid climates, there is no threat to the rain forest.
Availability and Resource Management
There is an almost limitless supply of mesquite. According to David Miller, President of Los Amigos del Mesquite, Texas has about 55 million acres of land with mesquite on it. At the current rate of consumption (approx. 5000 acres per year) and assuming no re-growth from cut trees, there is an 11,000-year supply of mesquite in Texas alone! It is estimated that Argentina has ten times more mesquite than Texas. There is no shortage of mesquite.
It is important to note that The Mesquite Collection has the capacity to fulfill orders of significant quantity. However, dealing in such quantities will require planning and projections to insure product will be available when needed.