Plantation Species: Agarwood
Even by rainforest standards, the aquilaria tree is remarkable. It isn't so much the tree, but what is deep inside it. Aquilaria produces resinous heartwood, called agarwood, known as the "Wood of the Gods". Agarwood has been traded for centuries. The resinous wood is used for incense, as well as medicinal purposes and pure resin in its distilled form goes into perfume. The value therefore is both religious and curative; the Japanese donate flowers and agarwood oil to Shinto-Buddhist temples, and faith healers use it in the Middle East.
Over Exploitation and Harvesting
By the early 1990s, the aquilaria tree had been harvested to near extinction in Southeast Asia, and was classified as an endangered species. So a drive began to replace the trees in the natural forest with the ones on commercial plantations. One problem is that not every aquilaria tree produces Agarwood. What was needed was a scientific answer that guaranteed production. Nine years ago a team from the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota developed a cultivated version of the tree to provide a sustainable crop.
Modern Technology in Harmony with Nature
Utilising modern technology, Asia Plantation Capital is now growing aquilaria trees at its plantations in Sri Lanka and Thailand. Asia Plantation Capital waits for the trees to be four to five years old before stimulating them to produce Agarwood. The trees can then be harvested, realising a potential return for investors in just six years.