The Science of Forestry
Being a biological product, forestry has strict growing conditions. As such, Asia Plantation Capital Group’s experts carefully identify suitable land each year for planting, based on soil and climatic conditions, water availability, and exposure to risks.
A small piece of a plant, which can be anything from a section of stem, root, leaf or bud, to a single cell, is placed in a test tube. The cells and tissues of a plant are separated, then cultivated in test tubes with a nutrient media under controlled environmental conditions. The cultured plant lives off a source of energy containing sugar, salts and vitamins. From these cultured parts, an embryo or ‘explant’ develops, which then grows into a whole new plant or tree.
It was the French botanist George Morel who first discovered the technique in 1965 while he was attempting to obtain a virus-free orchid plant. Tissue culture has been around commercially since the 1970s in advanced countries and is now widely used in the developing world.
Tissue culture is really the mass cloning of elite tree species and has been demonstrated to produce better and more predictable results than for open-pollinated seedlings from the same trees.
The concept has great relevance for countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, where agriculture remains an important economic sector requiring new technologies to increase production. As a leading forestry provider, APC uses tissue cultures for a variety of its products.
Custom-built nurseries for seedling development ensure that only the strongest saplings are planted on the plantations, thereby resulting in a high survival rate.
Seedling development is achieved through controlled pollination using the healthiest trees that go on to improve the available gene pool for new plantings each year. Current plantations are derived from seeds originally sourced from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, ensuring indigenous suitability.
Aquilaria tree growth and agarwood production is both an art and a skilled science which require specialised processes such as inoculation to stimulate the resinous heartwood, and complex end-processing to extract the highly valuable agarwood chips/powder and Oud oil.
Professional craftsmanship is required in order to optimise and extract the greatest value out of each tree. An understanding of these final and critical stages of inoculation and extraction is key to being able to maximise yields.
Key considerations are:
- When to inoculate*
- How much inoculation to use per tree
- When to administer inoculation boosters
- Optimal harvest times
- The ability of maximum value extraction from the end product
Inoculation is a method of producing agarwood by forming an artificial wound in the xylem of the Aquilaria tree and providing a means for aerating the wound. The wound may be formed by cutting, drilling, or chopping or by inserting a nail. A resin-inducing agent is then applied to the cells surrounding the wound which stimulates resin production or agarwood in the tree.
* A tree can only be inoculated once it reaches an adequate size.