my answer is in redNot sure what you mean by plantation, you mean a farm or crop area?yes
My concern would be first; what type of wood, does in have possible natural resin or natural toxins?Olive manly I think Eucalyptus would be a bad choice for aquarium driftwood. Or any other known to be strongly aromatic type of trees.
Secondly do they actively spray insecticide or use chemical fertilizers that might leach into the wood? i think yes If this is a Tropical area, does the wood get flooded annually with run-off from the plantation?pff i wish it was tropical here
Many call it driftwood and some call it found wood. Lots of it will be safe with the proper care. I pick up lots and never worry about the species of tree nor where it has been. But I do two things to help sort out what is safe. The first and bigger thing, is to find a wood that is TOTALLY dry. I find once wood is totally dry it is far less apt to have tannin from the sap (moisture) left in the wood.
To find totally dry wood takes some training. We are not speaking of wood which has not been rained on but wood that has been outside in nature through many cycles of all kinds of weather so that it has dried fully. This drying happens from the outer layers to the inner and takes years in most cases. Many like the cedar, fir and pine takes tens of years and some never.
I look for wood that is still pretty solid on the outside but which has no bark left. If bark is left, it is likely to have sap left as well and I don't want to deal with those questions. When wood is dry to the point I trust it, almost all the normal clues to the type of tree will be gone and I do not try to sort that out. Dry is what I want. Wood hung up off the ground is often better as that is one way for it to dry without rotting and bugs that degrade the wood. Wood that is dry will be lighter than wood that has moisture so that can be your first clue. It may also be bleached white from the sun. One way to help determine how much sap is left is to cut an end off the piece. I carry a small folding saw when hiking. When an end is cut off, the wood color should be nearly uniform from outer to inner layers. There may be some color difference near knots, etc. which can be okay.
This is a link to some of the wood I collect and you can see some examples of the color I mention.
Wood by Richard | Photobucket
Feel free to take a look around that group of pictures for ideas?
Second point is treating the wood to assure it is safe. I use bleach for this as it is what the public health groups recommend for sanitation. It is also the cheapest and easiest sure way. Use cheap bleach without scents or colors added as those are wild cards that we don't need. A half cup or so is plenty and all we really care about is that we get enough to deal with any dirt, oil, bugs, pesticides, etc. Soak the wood for 8 hours or more depending on how busy you are. We just want to make sure it has time for the chlorine bleach water to soak into all the little nooks and crannies where the bad things might hide and that takes time. When done soaking, take it out and rinse the bleach water off to dilute it. Then set it out somewhere to dry until all the remaining chlorine gasses off. Hot, sunny weather is nice and quicker but not required. When the chlorine smell is gone, the wood is safe. Chlorine is a gas by nature and will gas off. There are no magic ingredients in bleach to soak in and not dry out. Just chlorine, a bit of sodium to help keep the chlorine in solution, and water.
Expect the wood to come out of the bleach as an ugly white color but that is temporary and the normal wood color will return shortly after in the tank.
If not familiar with liguid bleach, the big hazard is getting the bleach water on fabric. It will eat your shirt! Watch out for splashing!
Okay? Perhaps I should amend my advise to cover that.I have to differ with PlanetedRich about the use of bleach on wood. It can react, especially wood lignens to form Dioxin, which was a major concern for the production of paper and for most paper mills here in the PacNW, and why a lot of them aren't running here anymore.
And as far as I know Dioxin can persist longer than the Chlorine it was formed from.
As a someone born in the mid 1950's ( honestly do I have to pull an age card...?) I'm betting I was in cloth diapers (which is a strawman, as there are no lignens in cotton fibers.)Okay? Perhaps I should amend my advise to cover that.
Just use plain bleach off the shelf as it is only 6% chlorine. Don't use the pure chlorine used in making paper. We are only wanting to clean the wood, not turn it into wood pulp. If you happen to have a large container of pure chlorine in the closet, please don't use it for tank wood.
Since most of us who are a bit older wore diapers washed in chlorine bleach, I feel it is safe enough for my tank use.