Rubber is the name of a fluid or substance released from a tree or a bush-like plant grown in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. It is used for numerous economic and commercial purposes. In beginning, rubber was obtained only from the forests of the South-American countries such as Brazil, Ecuador and Peru. The rubber plant which is 30 to 60 feet high becomes productive in about five years’ time. It remains productive for almost forty years. The annual average rubber production of one plant is four to six pounds
Before the nineteenth century the world was unaware of the use of rubber, due to Brazil’s monopoly on rubber. Till 1906, sixty per cent of the total rubber in the world was produced In Brazil. The use of rubber in the world began to increase when in 1820; Charles Mackintosh prepared a waterproof cloth sheet from rubber. Later a scientist named Goodyear made tires and tubes from rubber. The growing demand for rubber forced the countries to increase their production. In 1876, an English scientist named Henry Wickham introduced rubber in Britain and Sri Lanka from Brazil. With the passage of time, the rubber plant reached Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia
Types of rubber
- Balate trees
- Castipoe trees
- Havea trees
Mostly, Havea plant is cultivated in the world because; its productivity is more than that of all the other plants. Today, it is the chief source of obtaining rubber and 95 per cent of the world’s total rubber is got from this type of plant. One hectare of land has 250 rubber plants which produce 450 kilograms of rubber.