An exotic species, coming from almost all of Australasia, Toona ciliata var. australis occurred abundantly throughout the entire Australian east coast. By 1910 the genetic and economic extinction of this species had been reported on the Australian mainland, due to the high economic value of its timber and its many uses in Australia and Europe, to where much of the wood was exported.
Australian cedar still exists today in conservation areas in Australia, in a strip of land of about 200 km between the mainland and the east coast, over nearly 3,200 km long between the country’s north and south. Australian cedar is currently one of the tree species most threatened with extinction in the world.
Belonging to the Meliaceae family (cedar and mahogany), Australian cedar is very much similar to cedar and mahogany, throughout the world in terms of quality, uses and wood characteristics, especially with Brazilian cedar (Cedrela fissilis) and mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla). Due to its clear color, which may vary from red to brown yellow, and its lightness, the species is an ideal replacement for the uses given to Brazilian cedar and mahogany, and it is also an excellent alternative for the replacement of many species such as balsa and other light and clear types of wood.
There has never been seen attacks of the shoot-borer (grandella Hypsipyla) in Brazil since the Australian cedar was introduced. For this reason, the Toona is considered resistant to this pest that causes great damage to Brazilian cedar and mahogany.