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OverviewAgrawal Wood Tree   High DemandDepleted SupplyProject DetailsProject Returns  Risks and Safeguards

Depleted Supplies – Sandalwood Tree

Indian contribution to the world market is around 95 percent, Indonesia contributes about 2-3 percent and the rest would barely contribute 2 percent.

In India, the proportion of wood harvested officially is small in proportion to that illegally harvested. As the wood has become increasingly valuable, the amount of wood illegally harvested has grown and this has in turn necessitated a reduction by government of its annual harvest due to concerns over sustainability.

The rate of depletion of India’s sandalwood resource is very rapid and is because of illicit felling, biotic interferences (such as fire, grazing, browsing and hacking) and spike disease.

Unfortunately, in the period since 1970, when the official government harvest was around 5,000 tonnes per annum, the harvest has dwindled to a current level of a mere 400 tonnes per annum.

 

Official Production of Sandalwood in Metric Tonnes in India

Year

Tonnes

1998 – 99

750

1999 – 00

1000

2000 – 01

1200

2001 – 02

1400

2002 – 03

1200

2003 – 04

1200

2004 – 05

1150

2005 – 06

750

2006 – 07

400

2007 – 08

300

 

 Efforts have increased to raise new plantations, with the State Government amending ownership laws to vest ownership with the plantation owner.  This would facilitate the growers to grow more sandalwood in their patta lands.

Natural sandalwood forest in India has declined drastically and dramatically over the past few decades due to unsustainable harvesting and depletion of the natural forest. The cultivation of plantations undertaken by both the government and the private sector in India are not adequate to meet the demand.

 

 Depleted Supplies – Agarwood Tree

The majority of costliest wood in the world is sold for the extraction of Agarwood oil, however the heartwood is also used in the production of Attars, manufacture of perfumes, agarbathis and has many important cultural, Medicinal, therapeutic and religious uses.

Long ago, when there were many Agarwood processing units in India, Agarwood was the helpline of many employees. At the oodhbathi making units, just a drop of agar oil would lend its fragrance to a heap of oodhbathis  and reach thousands of homes. Even the last grade powder of Agarwood was not wasted but used in the manufacture of agarbathis. However, in the present day, owing to the shortage of agar oil and the hike in prices, agarbathis no longer smell as good as they did years ago.

After the 80’s, because of the rampant practice of injuring the tree and cutting it down to extract Agarwood, all the Aquilaria breed of Agarwood trees disappeared in just two decades. Fortunately, a few Agarwood trees remained in the protected forests and the Forest Department is supplying Agarwood from these trees to processing units at a fixed price. The remaining trees in the protected forests are being conserved under the guidance of CITES.

Mumbai was the main centre for the export trade of Agarwood. The government is issuing licenses to processing units and these units use imported Agarwood. Efforts are currently on to revive the cultivation of Agarwood in the north eastern states and Western Ghats in South India.

Natural Agarwood wood forest in India has declined drastically and dramatically over the past few decades due to unsustainable harvesting and depletion of the natural forest. The cultivation of plantations undertaken by both the government and the private sector in India are not adequate to meet the demand.

Depleted Supply – Rosewood Tree

The species is, however, slow-growing, and is threatened by overexploitation for its timber and by illegal logging. Its IUCN Red List status is “vulnerable.”

The raw material of D. latifolia is listed under CITES on Appendix I, so international trade in these materials is banned. Finished products made from the timber are not.