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Legal barriers for growing sandal, have so far prevented private initiatives for domestication/conservation of this prized tree of Indian forests, accelerated its illegal harvesting from natural forests, and admittedly failed to conserve this resource. We attempted to critically examine the sandal conservation efforts in India especially from a policy perspective, through a detailed review of the various Acts framed for conserving this resource and regulating its extraction and trade. Legal constraints that hamper private initiatives in ex situ sandal conservation/domestication and inconsistency in legal provisions related to sandal extraction and trade among the major producer states of southern India viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are the principal focus of this paper. The need for liberalization of the existing policy regime and evolution of a comprehensive management strategy for sandal, focusing on tree domestication and strengthening of in situ conservation measures backed by imaginative participatory management strategies, are highlighted.
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1
Journal of Tropical Agriculture 48 (1–2) : 1–10, 2010
*Author for correspondence: Phone 91 802 2190163; E-mail <krupaias@gmail.com>.
Review/Synthesis
Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in southern India: A review of policies
and their impacts
B. Dhanya
1
*, Syam Viswanath
1
, and Seema Purushothman
2
1
Tree Improvement and Propagation Division, Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Malleswaram P.O., Bangalore
560003, India;
2
Centre for Policy and Governance, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment
(ATREE), Royal Enclave, Srirampura, Jakkur, Bangalore 560 064, India.
Received 16 October 2009; received in revised form 11 June 2010; accepted 12 June 2010.
Abstract
Legal barriers for growing sandal, have so far prevented private initiatives for domestication/conservation of this prized tree of
Indian forests, accelerated its illegal harvesting from natural forests, and admittedly failed to conserve this resource. We attempted
to critically examine the sandal conservation efforts in India especially from a policy perspective, through a detailed review of
the various Acts framed for conserving this resource and regulating its extraction and trade. Legal constraints that hamper
private initiatives in ex situ sandal conservation/domestication and inconsistency in legal provisions related to sandal extraction
and trade among the major producer states of southern India viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are the principal focus of
this paper. The need for liberalization of the existing policy regime and evolution of a comprehensive management strategy for
sandal, focusing on tree domestication and strengthening of in situ conservation measures backed by imaginative participatory
management strategies, are highlighted.
Keywords: Participatory management, Sandal extraction, Trade liberalization, Tree domestication.
Introduction
Santalum album L. (East Indian sandalwood or sandal),
a small evergreen hemi-parasitic tree renowned for its
fragrant heartwood, has been synonymous with ancient
Indian culture and heritage (Srinivasan et al., 1992).
The species is indigenous to India and its distribution
is limited to an area of about 9600 km
2
, mostly in the
deciduous forests of the Deccan region of peninsular
India (Gairola et al., 2008). The southern Indian states
of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu together account for more
than 90% of the natural population of S. album in India.
India has traditionally enjoyed a niche market for the
premium prized East Indian sandal wood oil, which has
excellent medicinal properties and is widely used as a
fixative in the manufacture of world class perfumes and
aromatic oils due to its intrinsic blending properties
(Baruah, 1999). Sandalwood also finds extensive
applications in carving and turnery and possesses
religious significance (Parthasarathi and Rai, 1989).
Sandal is recognized worldwide as one of the most
valuable commercial tree species with an estimated
market volume of more than $1 billion (Viswanath et
al., 2008). Despite the value of the resource and its
status as India’s brand ambassador in international
markets, recent data on production of sandalwood in
India show a declining trend (Fig. 1). India’s sandalwood
production dropped from 4000 Mg heartwood per year
in the 1950s to a mere 500 Mg in 2007 as against the
global annual demand of about 5000 to 6000 Mg wood
and around 100 to 120 Mg oil (Gairola et al., 2008).
2
The widening gap between production and demand and
the unlicensed export of finished sandal products under
the EXIM policy (Barauh,1999) have led to a sharp
rise in sandal wood prices since 1992 in Karnataka and
Tamil Nadu (Fig. 1). Between 1996 and 2006, when
the average annual sandal production (excluding
seizures) in Karnataka diminished by 65%, the average
auction prices of sandal heartwood shot up by more
than 590% to Rupees 1.656 million per Mg (Fig. 1).
Despite its traditional advantage of being a front-runner
in sandal trade, India has now lost the potential
economic opportunity in sandalwood and sandal oil
trade to Australia and Indonesia. Indonesia produced
1000 Mg sandalwood annually in the 1980s
(McKinnell, 1990) and Australia had 830 ha of Indian
sandalwood plantation in 2001, which is projected to
expand to 2300 ha by 2011 (Awasthi, 2007).
Studies also indicate a substantial loss of genetic diversity
of natural sandal populations in the major sandal bearing
regions of India in recent decades (Venkatesan et al.,
1995). Owing to its rapidly declining status, S. album
has been accorded the vulnerable status by the Inter-
national Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural
Resources (IUCN) in 1998 (Awasthi, 2007). In addition
to the erosion of sandal gene pool and loss of adaptive
gene complexes that might have evolved through the
process of natural selection (Meera et al., 2000), depletion
of sandal resources has also become a major concern for
the Gudigars (sandalwood carvers of Uttar Kannada
district, Karnataka) whose livelihoods are dependent on
this resource (Chandrasekhariah and Dabgar, 1998).
Recurrent annual fires, lopping of trees for fodder/
grazing, sandal spike disease (Rai, 1990), invasive
weeds like Lantana camara, and spread of monoculture
plantations of eucalyptus (Basappanavar, 1977) have
altered the ecology of natural sandal ecosystems. While
these factors hinder regeneration in forest areas and
diminish the growing stock, overexploitation and illicit
felling further aggravate the situation (Swaminathan et
al., 1998), and indications are that such woes are likely
to increase. For example, in Karnataka, between 1980
and 1997, sandalwood recovered from poachers
accounted for just about 30% of the gross sandal yield
(Meera et al., 2000), while in 2006-’07 the quantity of
recovered wood was about 78% more than the gross
yield (Government of Karnataka, 2007). Till recently,
overall response of the state governments to the threat
of smuggling has been limited to imposing stringent
controls over sandal extraction and trade through
monopolistic laws and regulations (Viswanath et al.,
2009). However, this has not deterred illegal and
indiscriminate harvesting of sandalwood nor has it
helped to conserve the species in its natural habitat and
its sustainable utilization (Mahapatra, 2001). Para-
doxically, the restrictive policy labyrinth has resulted
in the perverse outcome of discouraging legitimate
interest in sandal growing (Rao, 2002). In this article,
we attempt to review the impact of protectionist policy
measures on the status of sandal resources in India and
seek to provide recommendations for devolved and
participatory management of this resource.
Figure 1. Average sandalwood production and price trends
in the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
(Reporting period: 1964–‘65 to 1975–‘76, 1978–‘79 to 1985–
‘86, 1995–‘96 to1997–‘98, 1999–‘00 to 2000–‘01, and 2005–
‘06 to 2008–‘09). Sources: Parthasarathi and Rai (1989),
Rai (1990), Rai and Sarma (1990), Divisional Forest Office
Records, Salem, Tamil Nadu (pers. commn.,16 September
2007); Office of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of
Forests, Forest Resources Management Division, Karnataka
Forest Department, Bangalore (pers. commn., 20 August
2008); Government of Karnataka (1995–1996 to 2008–
2009). Wherever data were not available from a particular
state, corresponding values from the other state has been
considered representative. All prices are in nominal terms.
Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in Southern India
3
Sandal wood policies in the context of property
rights in natural resource management sector
In India, assertion of state monopoly and exclusion of
forest communities have been the guiding principles
of forest administration since its inception in 1864.
Prevailing paradigm among the forest bureaucracy for
the past 14 decades has been that conservation is the
sole prerogative of the state (Hazra, 2002). State-
property rights regime is justified as being in national
interest (Guha, 1983) and often evokes the “tragedy of
commons” argument (Hazra, 2002). But Cooper (2005)
observes that state’s insistence on tight control on access
to forests and forest products has been mostly aimed at
the revenue from forest sector. In the case of sandal,
the astronomical prices of its wood and oil are strong
incentives for the state to maintain a tight control over
the available resources. However, achieving complete
government control over resource access and use has
proved difficult as state control has been rather lax,
ineffective, and often corrupt in regulating resource
access (Ostrom and Nagendra, 2006). At the same time,
lack of ownership resulted in reduced incentives for
people to preserve the forests and thus for large parts
of India, nationalization had the unintended effect of
creating “open-access” resources (Nagendra, 2007).
Inability of the state to enforce the laws and corruption
have been highlighted as major contributing factors for
depletion of natural sandal resources (Rao, 2002).
Sandal in private lands has been an instance of
combined rights with the state claiming value of a
natural resource situated in private properties. The
consequence of such intertwined ownership regime has
been extensively discussed in the context of the Eastern
Indonesian island of Timor. For instance, in Nusa
Tengarra Timur (NTT) province, the government
claimed ownership of all sandal trees in private lands
in 1986, setting annual harvest quotas, and periodically
inventorying the stock of trees, as well as declared itself
as the sole buyer of sandalwood and prohibited export
of unprocessed logs (Marks, 2002). These policies
resulted in a sharp decline in the standing stock of sandal
owing to high rates of illegal cutting and removal of
young trees by locals to avoid any obligation to maintain
the trees once they have been inventoried (Rohadi et
al., 2000). Relaxation of harvest quotas in 1996 and
1997 led to further depletion of stock trees to the point
that a five-year ban on felling had to be imposed. Marks
(2002) opines that temporary policies that created
perverse incentives to harvest sandalwood along with
insufficient replanting owing to governmental expropri-
ation of private property rights on the trees have been
largely responsible for depletion of sandal in NTT.
Legal provisions governing sandal conservation in
India - a retrospect
History is replete with instances of Indian rulers trying
to monopolize sandal resources to ensure financial
strength for dominance and warfare, the classic case being
the mighty Vijaya Nagara Empire (13
th
–16
th
century CE)
of Deccan region (Ganeshaiah et al., 2007). More
recently, Tippu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, in 1792,
declared sandal as a royal tree and even went to the extent
of amputing the hands of sandalwood thieves to enforce
the royal decree (Rai, 1990). Even after independence
when state forest laws were framed, provisions were
made to enable the states to continue the control regime.
Karnataka, being the hub of sandal production in India
and a major beneficiary of sandal revenues, has a special
chapter (Chapter X) relating to sandalwood in the
Karnataka Forest Act (KFA), 1963. Section 84 of KFA
proclaimed that all sandal trees growing in any land
including private lands to be the exclusive property of
the state government (Government of Karnataka, 1963).
Landowners had no right on the tree, but were respon-
sible for its preservation. Only the government had
the right to sell or trade the wood. On extraction of the
tree, the landowner was paid a bonus (75% of net value
i.e., actual value less cost of extraction, transport, and
cleaning), that too often after enduring long delays and
many bureaucratic hassles (Jeeva et al., 1998). Punitive
clauses in the law made the landowners vulnerable to
severe punishments even for minor offences related to
the sandal trees grown on their land. The whole system
acted as a huge disincentive for private growing of
sandal. In particular, the liability to preserve the trees
and the fear of harassment and compensation to be paid
B. Dhanya, Syam Viswanath and Seema Purushothaman
4
to the government in case of theft, had prompted the
farmers to destroy even the saplings that came up
naturally.
In the adjacent Tamil Nadu also sandal was declared a
‘royalty’ even on private property, in the Madras Forest
Act of 1882, making unlicensed possession and
extraction of sandalwood a punishable offence. In the
neighbouring state of Kerala, The Kerala Restriction
on Cutting and Destruction of Valuable Trees Act, 1974
and Kerala Preservation of Trees Act, 1986 and its
subsequent amendments, imposed restrictions on the
extraction of selected tree species on private lands
including sandalwood. But there were no restrictions
on transport, possession, trade, and processing of
sandalwood (Ramakrishnan, 1995; Kushalapa, 1999).
Cases related to illegal transport of sandalwood were
booked only under transit rules common to all timbers.
The relatively liberal laws in Kerala coupled with
stringent controls in the neighbouring states made
Kerala a haven for illicit sandal rackets. Around 25
distilleries had sprung up in the interstate borders of
Kerala with Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, mostly sourcing
illicit wood from the neighbouring states (Deepa, 2005).
A major beneficiary of the perverse policy situation was
the forest brigand, Veerappan who operated a vast
sandalwood smuggling network in southern India, with
impunity. Since government mechanisms to share the
benefits of sandal proceeds with local people were non-
existent, Veerappan enjoyed immense patronage from
locals and in return gave them the needed cover to sell
the valuable wood (Agarwal, 2000). Thus the mono-
polistic laws not only denied private incentives for
growing sandal trees, but also aggravated illegal
harvesting and trade, created outlaws, and led to a
failure in situ conservation of sandal resources, with
immense ecological and socioeconomic costs.
Recent initiatives for sandal domestication
Realizing the flaws in sandal policy which endangered
the species, Government of Karnataka came up with
amendment to Karnataka Forest Act in 2001 to
encourage private domestication of sandal as means to
conserve and enhance the status of this resource
(Government of Karnataka, 2001). The amendment
gave landowners legal right to trees on their land and
made them eligible to receive full value on extraction.
Shortly, Tamil Nadu followed suit with the Tamil Nadu
Forest (Amendment) Act of 1998 in 2002, which gave
landowners the right to trees (Government of Tamil
Nadu, 2002). Kerala is still striving for a change,
through measures like closure of all sandal oil
distilleries on the interstate borders and inserting
punitive clauses for illegal harvest and transport of
sandalwood in the Kerala Promotion of Tree Growth
in Non-forest Areas (Amendment) Act, 2006
(Government of Kerala, 2006).
Considering the large-scale demand for quality planting
material for domestication, germplasm banks, clonal
seed orchards and sandal nurseries are also gradually
attracting government and private investments. For
example, the Institute of Wood Science and Technology,
Bangalore currently raises around 65,000 sandal
saplings annually for distribution among private
growers (Viswanath et al., 2009).
Loopholes in the current legal provisions on sandal
Though the amendments in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
were enacted with much hype over the liberalisation
they were expected to usher in, the changes have rather
been cosmetic (Table 1). The concept of private
ownership is limited as the governments still retain
control over felling, sale, and transport of privately
owned trees (Cooper, 2005). Moreover, the situation
remains a classic example of monopsony, a market
perturbation in which there is only a single buyer and
number of sellers and the monopsonist (i.e., the Forest
Department, FD) can dictate the prices of the produce.
As can be seen from Table 2, the fixed price offered by
the FD in no way reflects the market price as indicated
by the high prices offered in the illegal, but more
accessible ‘grey markets’. Such measures not only
create perverse incentives for over-exploitation but also
inflict a net loss to the society in terms of lost producer
surplus (profit loss to legal sandal producers due to
the lower rates offered by the FD, bureaucratic hassles,
Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in Southern India
5
Table 1. Changes in provisions related to sandal in the Karnataka Forest (Amendment) Act, 2001 and loopholes in the existing
provisions.
Before amendment to KFA
1
After amendment
2
Loopholes/drawbacks
All sandal trees which may grow in Every occupant or holder of land shall be Sandalwood in private land is still
any land shall be the exclusive property legally entitled to the sandal tree in his land. governed by rules applicable to
of state government. forest produces.
Landowner shall preserve sandal trees Landowner is still responsible for the tree, The onus of preservation and
growing in his land, and shall report any but there is no provision for compensation. reporting may lead to unnecessary
theft to the nearest Forest Officer or harassment.
Police Officer, failure of which makes
him liable to pay compensation.
Imprisonment for a term which may Imprisonment for a term which may extend Punishment is same for all sandal
extend to 7 years and fine which may to 10 years and fine which may extend offences ranging from removing a
extend to Rs. 25,000 for sandal offences. to Rs 100,000. branch of the tree to illegally selling
wood or distilling oil. Punishment is
applicable to landowners too.
Land owner shall file a declaration about This provision removed. Extensive bureaucratic procedures
all sandal trees above 10 cm girth at breast are involved in making payments
height. Otherwise no bonus will be given towards the value of privately
on extraction of trees. owned sandal trees.
No person can insist removal of the If the sandal tree intended to be extracted ‘Matured’ is defined as dead and
tree unless on grounds of obstruction is matured, permission will be granted decayed trees and trees with heart-
to cultivation. within about 4 months of application to wood at depth not less than 2.5 cm
Range Forest Officer. from surface. Extraction may not be
done as and when the farmer wants
and requires procedures which can
take up to 4 months.
On extraction, the owner shall be paid After deducting the cost of transportation, Owner is entitled to value of the tree
75% of the net value (gross value less preparation, supervision and other as determined by FD. Prices fixed
cost of extraction, transport, cleaning incidental charges, the value of sandalwood by FD are well below the market
and supervision and incidentals) of wood fixed by FD shall be paid to the owner rates. The time schedule for
at rates sanctioned by government from within 3 months from the date of receipt payment is often not adhered to
time to time. No timeframe is specified of the material in the depot. without provision for interest on
for payment. delayed payments.
No person shall possess/store/sell No change in the license clause. Wood A clear case of government
sandalwood except under a license. can be disposed to government depot or monopsony.
No provision specifying where to to any government undertaking notified
dispose the wood. by the state government.
Source:
1
Government of Karnataka (1969);
2
Government of Karnataka (2001). KFA= Karnataka Forest Act; FD= Forest Department.
and the time lag in payments). In the long run, farmers
may even be lured away by higher prices and immediate
returns in the grey markets.
Lack of uniformity in legal provisions related to sandal
among the different producer states still remains a big
challenge to be addressed (Table 3). Inconsistency in
law apparently encourages interstate smuggling and trade,
as the offender in one state may not be guilty as per the
rules of another state where part of the operations takes
place. Though the Government of India formed a
Sandalwood Advisory Committee to promulgate a
uniform policy on sandal, the task has not been successful
so far, due to conflict of interest among the sandal
B. Dhanya, Syam Viswanath and Seema Purushothaman
6
Table 2. Monopsony pricing of sandal in Karnataka.
Year Price fixed by KFD for Retail selling price of KFD
2
Average auction price of Price in grey markets in
private growers
1
(million Rs·Mg
–1
) heartwood in Mysore sandal North India
4
(million Rs·Mg
–1
) depot of KFD
3
(million Rs·Mg
–1
)
(million Rs·Mg
–1
)
2004 0.14 0.880 1.553 14
2005 0.88 1.785 2.226 24
2006 0.88 1.750 2.374 44
2007 0.88 1.785 3.190 NA
2008 0.88
5
2.710 3.268 NA
2009 0.96–2.02 3.393
6
3.557 NA
Source:
1, 6
Office of Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Forest Resources Management Division, Karnataka Forest Department,
Bangalore (pers. commn., 27 May 2010);
2
Government of Karnataka (2004–2005 to 2008–2009), Bangalore.
3
Office of Deputy Conservator of
Forests, Sandal Depot, Mysore, Karnataka (pers. commn., 3 October 2007);
4
The Times of India, Kanpur. Paradise lost: gone with the whiff
(Available at www.times of india.indiatimes.com. Accessed 10 October 2007).
5
0.88 million Rs·Mg
–1
till 15-7-‘08, after that 0.96–2.02 million
Rs·Mg
–1
for different grades of heartwood. Grading of wood while purchasing from private landowners was initiated by Karnataka Forest Department
with effect from 15-7-08 as per order No:A6.SDL.GL-5184/04-05/08-09 dated 16 July 2008 (pers. commn., 20 August 2008).
occurring and sandal non-occurring states of India
(Kushalapa, 1999).
Policy recommendations for encouraging sandal
domestication
Table 4 clearly justifies the need for revamping the
existing policies to create a conducive environment for
private domestication and trade of sandalwood. As
Marks (2002) rightly argued in the Timorese context,
“if a family nominally owns the trees on its land but
has to get permission to exploit them, and then receives
only a small fraction of their economic value, the
ownership right does not mean much”. Freedom to
fell the tree at any time and to sell it to any buyer (not
to a state monopsony) at the best price that the owner
can negotiate is an integral part of total ownership right.
Proper monitoring and security mechanisms should be
in place to check smuggling of sandal from the natural
forests. But the cost of doing so should not be shifted
to legitimate growers in terms of restrictions on selling
and monopsony pricing. Prices determined by the
government should be applicable to forest-grown
sandalwood only and the private growers should be
compensated by offering the actual market value.
Relaxation of rules favouring private domestication,
however, should be complemented by stringent
punishments for sandal offences in natural forests.
Sandal offences may be made non-bailable and
cognizable in all states and punishment should be
graded, based on the severity of the offence. In a
liberalised regime, conflicts and controversies over
ownership of the resource as well as on protection and
reporting may not arise reducing the administrative
burden on these. A sandal task force can also be set up
to liaise between the forest department and private
growers. Captive plantations by sandal based industries
are also to be promoted to reduce pressure on natural
sandal resources. As production would be augmented
through private growing over the coming years, prices
are expected to come down, making smuggling less
lucrative and further promoting natural growth and
regeneration of sandal. Thus de-control of sandal trade
has to be accomplished in phases so as to keep pace
with the volume of wood produced ex-situ to avoid
speculation and indiscriminate extraction. Ensuring
synchronisation and uniformity of these steps at least
in the major sandal growing states should also be a
priority in the sandal bioresource governance arena.
Participatory management of sandal resources
Owing to the long gestation period, and high protection
costs, sandal cultivation may prove affordable only to
the resourceful sections of the society possessing
Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in Southern India
7
Table 3. Comparison of existing sandal provisions in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
Provision Karnataka
1
Tamil Nadu
2
Kerala
3
Status of sandal Forest produce Royalty Forest produce
Ownership of tree in Landowner Landowner Not specified
private lands
Right to fell the tree Only matured trees, with The landowner after obtaining Cutting or removal may be
permission from FD. the written permission can fell done only by the FD.
sandal trees.
Selling of tree and trade Only to FD or government Only to FD. Only to FD.
in wood undertakings as specified.
Bonus paid to farmers Net value of the tree i.e. gross value 47.5% of auction value till 2001, 70% of auction value or
based on average auction prices less new rules are yet to be framed. auction value less cost of
cost of cleaning and supervision. extraction, transportation,
and working, whichever is
less.
Timeframe for payment Within 3 months Not specified Not specified
to farmers
Power of government to No such provision. Any authorized government Not specified
remove trees from private agency can remove sandal tree
land from private lands after due
notice.
Possession of wood and Up to 3 kg wood and 100 g oil. Up to 5 kg wood, oil not specified. Not specified.
oil without license
Punishment for offences Not graded. Graded based on severity of Specified only for illegal
offence. removal and transport of
trees.
Power of forest officers Not applicable to sandal offences. Applicable to sandal offences No provision.
to compound offences involving sandal up to 100 kg.
Presumption in case of In case of a controversy, sandal- The burden of proof is on the The burden of proof
sandalwood wood is presumed to be the accused. is on FD.
property of the State Government;
the burden of proving the contrary
lies on the accused.
Source:
1
Government of Karnataka (2001);
2
Government of Tamil Nadu (2002);
3
Government of Kerala (2006). FD= Forest Department.
sufficient land and financial capital to invest. Hence
to ensure distributional equity of benefits from domesti-
cating this valuable bioresource, government strategies
should encourage smallholder farmers to integrate
sandal into their agroforestry systems. Before sandal
trees develop useful quantity of fragrant heartwood,
they can also be harvested for other useful products.
For example, leaves are excellent sources of green
manure and fodder, dry branches are used as fuel, fruits
are edible, and seeds yield oil that can be used in varnish
industry (Venkatesan et al., 1995). In addition to
yielding such annual benefits, sandal in mixed cropping
systems serves as a long-term domestic investment
within an economically diversified agricultural asset
base. Extensive market deregulation in terms of prizing
regimes and transparent marketing channels and re-
orientation of the role of forest resource managers from
an exclusive ‘policing’ role to one of facilitating long-
term agroforestry in partnership with local farming
communities will go a long way in promoting small-
holder sandal forestry (McWilliam, 2001).
Although private growing of sandal by itself can
enhance the status of the resource, by no means this
B. Dhanya, Syam Viswanath and Seema Purushothaman
8
can be a substitute for conservation of the enormous
genetic diversity of sandal germplasm in natural areas.
Effective institutional mechanisms are to be carefully
crafted to enable the sharing of conservation benefits
with the marginalized communities in forests and its
fringes so as to ensure sustainable conservation of
natural sandal resources. Introducing sandal in Joint
Forest Management (JFM) programmes through the
Forest Rights Committees and community managed
waste land afforestation programmes offer a means
for inclusive sandal resource conservation. The ability
of sandal to grow well in mixed woodlots or near fields
and its potential to provide the much needed sums for
village/forest development projects are clear and may
provide direct incentives for local communities to
conserve the species, if included in JFM programmes
(Cooper, 2005). A successful initiative in this context
is the ecotourism programme launched in Marayur
Table 4. Why sandal laws should be liberalized?
Justification for state monopoly Counter arguments Reference
Relaxation of rules and higher prices for Sandal population may resurrect under a decontrolled Viswanath (2009)
wood will lead to large scale exploitation of regime, as cultivation is encouraged and additionally
the resource and will put natural sandal farmers would safeguard natural regeneration. Farmers
populations at greater risk. from states with liberal laws related to sandal have
taken up sandal cultivation in a big way.
If liberalisation would lead to decimation of species, it Kushalapa (1999)
would have happened to other valuable species like teak
(Tectona grandis L.) and rosewood (Dalbergia latifolia
Roxb.) that are not controlled like sandalwood.
Early harvesting (15–20 years old trees) If property rights and a permanently remunerative price Marks (2002)
under cultivated conditions reduces natural are assured, farmers may wait for trees to grow big and
regeneration and results in lower wood may put more land into sandalwood production. Also if
quality and quantity. people are rewarded for selling better grades of sandalwood
rather than being paid a uniform price, their own incentives
to leave the trees in the ground longer will be enhanced.
Oil content and quality of heartwood of S. album plantations in Western Australia at 14 year Brand et al. (2006)
cultivated trees may be inferior to trees show santalol (compound responsible for distinctive
from natural stands. fragrance of sandal) levels meeting current ISO
standards for S. album oil.
In India, under cultivated conditions, a mean annual Rai (1990)
increment of 3–5 cm per annum has been observed, Viswanath et al.
compared to 1 cm per annum in forests. Quality issues, (2008)
even if true, may be compensated by larger outturn of
wood expected under cultivated conditions and a
quality linked price regime in free markets.
sandal reserve of Kerala with local community
members engaged as guides, thus paving way for
benefit sharing and participatory management of the
reserve. This initiative of inclusive conservation could
bring down the rate of illegal felling of sandal trees in
the division from eight a day to 0.14 in 2009 (http: //
www.hindu.com/2009/12/30/stories/20091230559
30400.htm; accessed 5 January 2010).
Conclusions
The analysis of sandal related legal provisions reveals
that the monopolistic policies for sandal conservation
and utilisation in India have so far exacerbated the
deterioration of sandal resources. Policy anomalies and
distorted markets have in fact turned out to be more
detrimental to the sustenance of this resource than
natural precincts. Declining natural stock and dis-
Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in Southern India
9
incentivised domestication also led to the waning status
of Indian sandal in the global markets. This points to
the need for a phased liberalization of policy and market
regimes. Efforts for saving this valuable resource from
extinction should definitely entail a strengthening of
traditional conservation measures backed by a multitude
of strategies to provide stakeholder incentives for
conservation, ranging from co-management and
community based management to private management.
This probably can ensure a fair distribution of potential
economic benefits from free and sustainable sandal
production in public (mostly natural forests) and private
(mostly cultivated) lands.
Acknowledgments
The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support
from a National Medicinal Plant Board funded project
on sandalwood and Forest Departments of Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala for sharing data related to
sandal. Mr. Sham Kashyap, ATREE, has offered crucial
inputs to an earlier version of this paper. Anonymous
reviewers and the editor are also thanked sincerely for
their critical comments.
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Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in Southern India
... Land use change has been recognized as a key threat to India's remaining natural Sandalwood populations [30,36,37]-but it is by far not the only one. Other identified threats to the species include fire, grazing pressures, diseases [30], invasive species, illegal harvesting [36], unsustainable extraction, fragmentation and habitat loss [37], which can accelerate the impacts of land use change on the species populations. ...
... Land use change has been recognized as a key threat to India's remaining natural Sandalwood populations [30,36,37]-but it is by far not the only one. Other identified threats to the species include fire, grazing pressures, diseases [30], invasive species, illegal harvesting [36], unsustainable extraction, fragmentation and habitat loss [37], which can accelerate the impacts of land use change on the species populations. Although lifting of the policies that restricted commercial plantations of Sandalwood until 2001 has facilitated the cultivation of the species, illegal harvesting and exploitation of natural populations has not completely ceased. ...
... Both the conservation of natural seed sources and ex situ conservation can also support planting efforts and associated livelihood benefits from the species, which in turn can reduce pressure on the remaining natural populations. The liberalization of rules on Sandalwood cultivation in 2001 and 2002 has facilitated plantation establishment, but the long life cycle of the species and the high establishment costs continue to pose a hurdle for popularizing the domestication of the species [36]. ...
Chapter
Species distribution modelling is increasingly used to help identify conservation priorities and target field studies. We modeled the distribution of Sandalwood (Santalum album L.) in India and Indonesia, two key countries within the species natural range, and compared the results with land cover, protected area network and global ecoregions map. Land use change has significantly affected the potential distribution of Sandalwood in both India and Indonesia, with 79% and 60% of the species’ predicted suitable habitats converted to croplands, respectively, and approximately only 2% of the remaining natural habitats found in protected areas. Moreover, land use change has affected ecoregions unevenly, with some ecoregions having lost over 90% of suitable natural habitats of Sandalwood and along with them likely distinct adaptive traits of the species. Ecoregions in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara province, regarded as a centre of diversity of Sandalwood, are of particular conservation concern due to the minimal remaining distribution area. Furthermore, we projected the modeled distribution to future climate conditions and the results indicated that climate change is not expected to affect the Sandalwood adversely across most of its range by 2050. Instead, the species would gain new suitable areas, especially in Central and Northern India. We conclude with recommendations for the conservation and sustainable management of Sandalwood resources in the two countries.
... For example, recent data on production of sandalwood in India show a declining trend. India's sandalwood production dropped from 4,000 MT heartwood per year in the 1950s to a mere 500 MT in 2007 as against the global annual demand of about 5,000 to 6,000 MT wood and around 100 to 120 MT oil (Dhanya et al, 2010). In addition to that, grazing and land conversion to agriculture crops such as sugar cane and pine apple have caused the sandalwood resource decline especially in Australia and Hawaii. ...
... India has realised the value of sandalwood trade and at the same time, to protect the wild grown sandalwood resources, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu provinces of India changed the existing policies to promote sandalwood growing in private lands. Realising the flaws in sandal policy which endangered the species, Government of Karnataka came up with amendment to Karnataka Forest Act in 2001 to encourage private domestication of sandalwood as means to conserve and enhance the status of this resource (Dhanya et al, 2010). The amendment gave landowners legal right to trees on their land and made them eligible to receive full value on extraction. ...
... The amendment gave landowners legal right to trees on their land and made them eligible to receive full value on extraction. Shortly, Tamil Nadu followed the same path and with the Tamil Nadu Forest (Amendment) Act of 1998 in 2002, the landowners were given the right to trees (Dhanya et al, 2010). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Santalum album L., which is believed to be introduced to Sri Lanka several hundreds of years ago, is growing well in all climate zones other than higher elevations in the wet zone. Its natural populations are widely seen in homegardens and associated lands, especially in the Uva Province which is located in the higher elevations of the intermediate climate zone. Only limited research has been conducted on this valuable species in Sri Lanka, varying from plantation establishment to oil content and constituent analysis. Still, many areas in the S. album-related industry remain unstudied. There were no records on S. album plantation establishment in the past until the last 10 years when the commercial cultivations were started.
... In India, northern Tamil Nadu and southern Karnataka are considered naturally distributed areas of sandalwood. These two states together account for more than 90% of the natural population of S. album in India (Dhanya et al. 2010). Arunkumar et al. (2016) suggested cultivating sandalwood in places other than forest land to minimize the gap between demand and supply. ...
... During 2009, Karnataka amended its law to enable the grower to sell the sandalwood produce straight to quasi-governmental corporation/ organization, for example, Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited (KSDL) and other, rather than selling only to the forest department. While in Kerala and Tamilnadu, the selling is being regulated by the state forest department only (Dhanya et al. 2010). The production of sandalwood throughout the world is largely affected by unscientific harvesting and insect pest attacks. ...
Chapter
Sandalwood (Santalum album Linn.) is an important tree species that exhibits high medicinal, cosmetic, and commercial values. Indian sandalwood is available mostly from Karnataka and Tamilnadu states of India. Due to its wide uses in various industries, wood is high in demand in the international market. The commercial aspect of sandalwood is being regulated by the forest authorities. It also shows numerous uses in cosmetic industries including the manufacturing of beauty products, face packs, moisturizers, face wash, skin creams, etc. Sandalwood is an important requirement in various rituals in almost all religious ceremonies. Sandalwood oil is being traditionally used in curing various diseases and ailments. It shows antioxidant, antiviral, anticancer, antifungal, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic activity. Aromatherapy is one of the important medicinal uses of sandalwood. This chapter discusses the commercial, cosmetic, and medicinal importance of sandalwood.
... International Union for Conservation of Nature categorized it as 'threatened' in 1997 [1] and still continues to be in threatened category Technology,18 Cross,Malleswaram, even now (Arunkumar et al., 2019). Some of the probable relevant reasons for its decline could be because, Sandalwood was considered as Government property in Karnataka, since the time of Tipu Sultan in th 17 century and continued to be so till the end of twentieth century while in Tamil Nadu, it was declared as 'Royalty' in 1882 as per the Madras Forest Act (Dhanya et al., 2010). With the reduced availability of Sandalwood, the cost of wood and oil increased many folds. ...
Article
Full-text available
Sandalwood (Santalum album L.) is a hemiparasite unable to absorb the required nutrients directly from the soil. Therefore, it needs a suitable host for successful cultivation. The effect of hosts on the growth and development of sandalwood was studied in an eleven-year-old plantation in the Northern dry zone of Karnataka. The sandalwood trees grown with Prosopis (Prosopis juliflora L.) exhibited better growth in terms of tree height (6.58 m), canopy spread (4.64 m), canopy volume (48.60 m³), stem girth (40.70 cm), main stem volume (36.79 dm³) and its annual increment (16.39%). They were also summer hardy and recorded higher chlorophyll, free proline, and soluble sugar in leaves. The summer leafiness of sandalwood was associated with the free proline content in its leaf (r = 0.927), which was in turn correlated with the free proline content in leaves of their respective hosts (r = 0.899). The sandalwood trees with Prosopis also exhibited signs of early heartwood development, thus making Prosopis a suitable host for the commercial cultivation of sandalwood in hot semi-arid conditions.
Chapter
The essential oil extracted from the Santalum genus, known as sandalwood oil is one of the most valuable plant-derived secondary metabolites. It is obtained from the steam distillation of the heartwood of the sandalwood tree. The high value of this oil mainly stems from the limited supply, caused by difficulties in the cultivation of the plant and other socio-economic conditions. All species of the Santalum genus, including the highest oil-producing Santalum album (east Indian sandalwood), are very slow-growing that takes about 15 to 20 years to form heartwood from which oil is distilled. Combined with the loss of cultivatable land and poaching of wild trees make sandalwood oil is very valuable. This oil has seen various applications in the aroma, perfume, cosmetic, flavour and pharmaceutical industries. Though the essential oil of sandalwood constitutes several terpenes and terpene alcohols, the main fragrance-defining constituents of the oil are sesquiterpene alcohols (Z)-α-santalol, (Z)-β-santalol, (Z)-epi-β-santalol and (Z)-α-exo-bergamotol, which are derived from their corresponding sesquiterpenes. In this chapter, we summarise the biosynthetic pathways involved in the formation of terpenoids and genes involved in the formation of key constituents of sandalwood essential oil. We cover different studies carried out towards the complete understanding of the pathway involved in sandalwood oil formation. We also take a look at how the deciphering of the sandalwood oil pathway has enabled bio-engineering approaches for enhanced and sustainable production using various biotechnological strategies.
Chapter
Santalum album is a slow growing hemiparasitic tree which is extensively exploited due to its use in fragrance and essential oil industries. The threat to this species has reached critical level and the species is approaching commercial extinction, widening the gap between supply and demand. The genomic resources in sandalwood are limited to two whole-genome sequences and several transcriptomes. The molecular regulation of the sesquiterpene biosynthetic pathway which produces the essential oil in the heartwood has been extensively worked and most of the genes in the pathway have been functionally characterized. Hence, research in sandalwood is now poised to enable genomewide surveys to associate genetic variability with phenotypic traits, underpin adaptive potential of populations, in vitro production of essential oil through metabolite engineering, and development of super barcodes for timber forensics. The insights gained from the genomic resources in this tropical species can facilitate formulation of effective conservation and breeding strategies.KeywordsBiomarkerMetabolite engineeringSandalwoodSesquiterpenesSuper barcodesTranscriptomes
Book
This book provides a global perspective of Indian Sandalwood categorized as ‘Vulnerable’ by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. It deals with history, distribution, propagation, chemistry, utilization, improvement, trade, and conservation in the present context. This book explores ways and means for restoring its past glory by creating awareness for its conservation and sustainable utilization. The content encompasses informative tables, appropriate graphs and figures, and illustrations with photographs and line drawings. This compendium would be useful for foresters, forestry professionals, botanists, policymakers, conservationists, NGOs, and researchers in the academia and the industry sectors.
Chapter
In this chapter, we focus on the current status of knowledge on the floral biology of Santalum album and the role of flower visitors in its pollination and fruit set. Flowers are bisexual, actinomorphic and epigynous, borne on axillary or terminal panicles. Based on the position of stigma, three types of flowers are observed: pin (stigma above the level of anther), thrum (stigma at a lower level) and homostylous (stigma and anther at the same level). A flower lasts for about three days, and its colour gradually changes from pale green or white to dark red with age. Though the ovary has 2‒4 embryo sacs, only one matures. From flowering to fruit maturation, it takes 80‒85 days, and the berries are eaten by birds, especially the Asian Koel, which may also be involved in the dispersion of seeds. There appear to be some contradictions concerning pollination, though many workers suggest that S. album is an obligate outcrossing species. However, the per cent fruit set under open pollination conditions appears to be very low, indicating a deficit in pollinators. Of the 46 species of flower visitors recorded, syrphids, calliphorids and honey bees have been reported as the most frequent visitors. However, there have been no studies to identify efficient pollinators, as most of the reports are subjective and are not supported by hard data. We also discuss the methods to be followed in sandalwood pollination studies.
Article
Full-text available
Legal barriers for growing sandal, have so far prevented private initiatives for domestication/conservation of this prized tree of Indian forests, accelerated its illegal harvesting from natural forests, and admittedly failed to conserve this resource. We attempted to critically examine the sandal conservation efforts in India especially from a policy perspective, through a detailed review of the various Acts framed for conserving this resource and regulating its extraction and trade. Legal constraints that hamper private initiatives in ex situ sandal conservation/domestication and inconsistency in legal provisions related to sandal extraction and trade among the major producer states of southern India viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are the principal focus of this paper. The need for liberalization of the existing policy regime and evolution of a comprehensive management strategy for sandal, focusing on tree domestication and strengthening of in situ conservation measures backed by imaginative participatory management strategies, are highlighted.
Article
Full-text available
Bioresources fuel the emergence of empires and civilizations; political will and social milieu can only catalyse the growth and establishment of the empires that are otherwise sustained by and only by, their biological resources. Emergence of Vijayanagara, as one of the richest empires in the world history, could be attributed to an opportunistic trading of its natural resources, viz. sandal, spices and diamonds, for the guns and horses. The military strength thus gained by the empire helped its growth and dominance over its rival regimes in the north. Similarly, its decline could be traced to the loss of control over, and reduced market value for, the same natural resources. History illustrates that those regimes that efficiently (and not necessarily sustainably) usurp the natural resources, gain political and military dominance over the competing regimes. For sustaining their own over-consumptive patterns of living, these super powers obviously turn to usurp resources from weaker regimes. The exploited poor regimes who are forced to live on limited (and sustainable) use of resources would continue to be weaker and be dominated by the super regimes. Till this vicious cycle is broken, the philosophy of sustainable use of resources continues to be an evasive strategy. Sustainable use of resources has to be a global mantra; else it would be a myth.
Article
Full-text available
Governing natural resources sustainably is a continuing struggle. Major debates occur over what types of policy “interventions” best protect forests, with choices of property and land tenure systems being central issues. Herein, we provide an overview of findings from a long-term interdisciplinary, multiscale, international research program that analyzes the institutional factors affecting forests managed under a variety of tenure arrangements. This program analyzes satellite images, conducts social-ecological measurements on the ground, and tests the impact of structural variables on human decisions in experimental laboratories. Satellite images track the landscape dimensions of forest-cover change within different management regimes over time. On-the-ground social-ecological studies examine relationships between forest conditions and types of institutions. Behavioral studies under controlled laboratory conditions enhance our understanding of explicit changes in structure that affect relevant human decisions. Evidence from all three research methods challenges the presumption that a single governance arrangement will control overharvesting in all settings. When users are genuinely engaged in decisions regarding rules affecting their use, the likelihood of them following the rules and monitoring others is much greater than when an authority simply imposes rules. Our results support a frontier of research on the most effective institutional and tenure arrangements for protecting forests. They move the debate beyond the boundaries of protected areas into larger landscapes where government, community, and comanaged protected areas are embedded and help us understand when and why deforestation and regrowth occur in specific regions within these larger landscapes. • deforestation • reforestation • research methods • institutions • monitoring and sanctioning
Article
Sandalwood (Santalum album) naturally occurs extensively in Southern States of India such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. It had export market from the period of Tipu Sultan or earlier for European and Mid-Eastern Countries and was therefore declared as `Royal Tree' in Karnataka. Special chapter exists in Karnataka Forest Act 1963 and Karnataka Forest Rules 1969, though nothing is mentioned in Indian Forest Act. Sandalwood is a Government property where ever it is found in Karnataka and therefore there are strict rules and regulations for its protection in and harvest from private lands; for its movement, trade and use. These are a deterrent for its existence and growth. People destroy its regeneration if found in their holdings. The declaration of bonus up to 75% of its value has not also encouraged its growing due to its inherent procedures and delays. There is a need for, rethinking and liberalizing the existing rules, regulations and restrictions. The payment of bonus also needs simplification.
Article
Twenty Indian sandalwood (Santalum album L.) trees planted at Kununurra, Western Australia, were sampled for total oil yield and san- talol content, at age 14 years. "Chips" (heartwood only) and "cores" (heartwood plus sapwood) were taken from each sandalwood stem at 30 cm and 100 cm from the base, and were processed using sol- vent extraction. The mean total extractable oil yields were 2.9-3.4 % from chips, and 1.8-2.0 % from cores. The oil extracted from the chips contained 44.7-46.7 % α‑santalol and 20.8-22.2 % β‑santalol. The mean percentage of heartwood was 28.9 - 33.8 %.
Article
2 Abstract: The current status of the conservation and management of Santalum spicatum in Western Australia and S. a lbu m in East Indonesia is outlined. Natural and artificial regeneration techniques for both species in selected areas are discussed. The present Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research program on S. album in Nasa Tenggara Timur is described in relation to the management needs of the species in that province. In S. spicatum, research on silviculture is essentially complete, and interest is now focused on the marketability of the kernels for human consumption. This paper is intended to be an overview, albeit incomplete, of current research on silviculture and the management status of the various sandalwood species of Western Australia and Indonesia. It is incomplete because it deals only with those areas with which I have direct experience and is not in any way an exhaustive survey of the whole region. Trees given the appellation of sandalwood (or various ver­ sions such as sandal, santal) occur discontinuously over a huge area extending from India, through Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, and many Pacific Islands as far east as Juan Fernandez Island. They are primarily tropical species, with the exception of four species occurring in Australia that extend into the warm temperate deserts. All are species of the genus Santalum and most (those known as sandalwood) are distinguished by the presence in the mature wood of distinctive oils which have been sought after for centuries for a variety of medicinal, ceremonial, and perfumery purposes. The taxonomy of the genus is still somewhat untidy, but the following species distribution is a fair approximation of the present occurrence of sandalwood in the Australia-Indonesia-
Article
For decades the government of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) province has exploited the sandalwood sector, to the detriment of the growers of the trees. Severe depletion of the stock of sandalwood in the province has been the result. This paper documents NTT policies toward the sector, which it argues have been both inefficient and inequitable, and offers a detailed approach for reform. It also examines the political economy of these policies, and argues that the case of sandalwood provides an example of the dangers of decentralisation of economic authority in the absence of local democracy.