With help from our friends, WWF is trying to make sure that agarwood continues to provide for local people’s needs in the decades ahead – without jeopardizing its natural occurrence.
This fragrant resinous wood, formed in the trees of the genera Gyrinops, Aetoxylon, Gongystylis
and, more commonly, Aquilaria
, has historically been in great demand from places such as Japan and the Middle East. It continues to be widely exported from places like New Guinea and the Heart of Borneo
Victim of its popularity
High demand and decreasing supplies are pushing the price of agarwood up. Another side effect is the indiscriminate destruction of trees.
Now, populations of 8 species of Aquilaria
have declined to the point where they have been categorized as threatened, according to the IUCN - The World Conservation Union
. Adding to the problem is the inability of planted trees to produce the valuable resinous wood, making plantations to date worthless.
Redressing the trade
, WWF’s and IUCN’s wildlife trade monitoring arm, has documented in detail the pressures on agarwood. Based on the trends suggesting over-exploitation of this heartwood, WWF has taken a range of steps in PNG to ensure trade is sustainable, including:
- Assessment of agarwood management areas
- Development of a framework to promote the sustainable management of agarwood resources
- Design of a community-based agarwood management plan