Sunday, April 27, 2008

India #698

Santalum album, or Indian sandalwood, is currently endangered and consequently very expensive. Although all sandalwood trees in India and Nepal are government-owned and their harvest is strictly controlled, many trees are illegally cut down and smuggled out of the country. Sandalwood essential oil prices have risen up to $1000-1500 per kg in the last 5 years. Some countries regard the sandal oil trade as ecologically harmful because it encourages the overharvesting of sandalwood trees. Sandalwood from Mysore region of Karnataka, Southern India is generally considered to be of the highest quality available. New plantations have been set up with international aid in Tamilnadu, in order to facilitate the economic benefits of sandalwood.

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