India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, Indonesia
Plantation Species: Sandalwood
Sandalwood is a common component of perfume and incense and its earliest known use dates back over 4,000 years. The trees are native to India, Australia, Indonesia and certain Pacific islands and can reach a height of 15 meters.
Essential Oils & Carving Wood
The tree has two main uses. Its dark inner heartwood containing fragrant resin is usually distilled into essential oils while the lighter sapwood makes an excellent material for carving. Sandalwood incense has historically been used in Buddhism, Hinduism, and other Eastern religious ceremonies. The oil is also used for aromatherapy and massage and is a valuable component of high-end perfumes such as Chanel's Egoiste and Prada's Iris. The wood is valued for the ability to retain its scent for decades and trees are toppled rather than cut down so that wood from the roots can be used.
The Demand for Plantation Sandalwood
Because of its popularity and slow rate of growth, sandalwood forests have been harvested to near extinction in many of its native habitats. Governments around the world have imposed restrictions and quotas on wild sandalwood but illegal logging remains common in many areas. Wood and oil from sandalwood plantations command a premium price as a result of demand for legal and sustainable sources.