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Australian native sandalwood at threat, industry groups warn

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Australian native sandalwood at threat, industry groups warn

Participants of Western Australia’s $40-million native sandalwood industry have warned it could per chance perchance perchance give blueprint below the load of elevated market present and overharvesting of wild shares.

Key contrivance:

  • Sandalwood industry and conservation groups are taking into consideration the long plug of WA’s native sandalwood industry
  • This 365 days, harvest will inaugurate up at some stage in hundreds of hectares of plantation wood growing within the Wheatbelt
  • Executive says wild harvest quotas will be reviewed earlier than 2026

Each 365 days 2,500 tonnes of the wild or Australian native sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, is harvested from predominately semi-arid and arid rangelands areas of WA.

Early Newspaper

It is miles one in every of the state’s oldest exports, dating aid to 1844, and is prized for its oil and by the agarbatti, or incense, markets.

However proponents of the wild and plantation industries have warned that with out management adjustments, the market will suffer from oversupply when harvest begins this 365 days of millions of plantation Santalum spicatum sandalwood timber grown at some stage within the Central Wheatbelt.

A letter, signed by 12 groups including the Desert Society, Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils and WA Sandalwood Plantations, was once despatched to the WA Executive late remaining 365 days, and called for the annual harvest quota of wild sandalwood to be greatly reduced, and for the position of the Woodland Products Price (FPC) within the sandalwood industry to be modified.

Two men stand looking at a seed on a sandalwood tree

Keith Drage and Darren Farmer from Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils.(Supplied: Jody D’Arcy)

In hazard of depletion

The FPC has been overseeing commercial harvesting, regeneration, marketing and sale of wildwood, a position the letter declared to be an “inherent battle of passion”.

WA Sandalwood Plantations managing director Keith Drage, who manages 19 million timber growing over 13,000 hectares, stated the FPC’s for-earnings commercial status for wildwood ought to be eliminated, and the FPC ought to transition into the plantation wood sector.

“I mediate it has been well-flagged over the years that because the plantation resource comes on line, there’ll ought to be a transition from reduced wild harvest complimented by the plantation resource, and what is occurring is there’s no such thing as a low cost within the wild harvest,” he stated.

Mr Drage stated wood from his firm’s plantation timber would inaugurate up to float this 365 days, and would manufacture to 6,000 tonnes a 365 days.

Sheep stand facing the camera, surrounded by sandalwood trees

Planting of sandalwood timber at some stage in WA’s Wheatbelt began within the late 1990s.(Supplied: Jody D’Arcy)

Mr Drage, additionally a director of native wood distillation firm Dutjahn Sandalwood Oils, pointed to a 2008–2020 industry pattern notion which he stated foreshadowed the state of affairs the industry was once facing if the wild harvest was once no longer reduced.

The FPC manages about 6,000 hectares of plantation sandalwood, which it expects to inaugurate up harvest in 2026.

The letter to ministers Dave Kelly, Ben Wyatt, Stephen Dawson and Alannah MacTiernan additionally flagged environmental issues for the aromatic native wood.

“Beneath contemporary harvest quotas, the species is in hazard of great depletion at handiest, and, at worst. on an inexorable pathway to extinction within the wild.”

Piles of sandalwood in a shed

Piles of sandalwood ready for processing.(Supplied: Jody D’Arcy)

Review earlier than 2026

Ministers Kelly and Dawson were contacted for observation. Minister Kelly’s administrative center equipped a written statement.

“Sustainable harvesting of wild sandalwood takes status in step with the boundaries build by the 2015 Sandalwood (Limitation of Removal of Sandalwood) Relate in Council, and requirements below the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2018,” the statement stated.

“The annual harvest quota will be reviewed earlier than the expiry of the sizzling Relate in Council in 2026.

“[We] will work closely with the plantation and wild sandalwood sectors to review all contrivance of the sandalwood industry.”

A close shot of a man looking off camera

Clinton Farmer says he is anxious about the long plug of the sandalwood industry.(ABC: Chris Lewis)

Well-known employment provider

Harvesting sandalwood presents employment and earnings for moderately about a Aboriginal groups, including Clinton Farmer from Kutkabubba Aboriginal Corporation.

Mr Farmer is continuous the commercial his father began on ancient lands within the Gibson Desert.

He stated he was once concerned native sandalwood was once being overharvested and questioned the effectiveness of the government’s regeneration program.

“We develop the harvesting in step with the easy project that was once passed on to us in a sustainable blueprint, that’s what we desire in status, so it would not score harvested out,” Mr Farmer stated.

He supported requires the wildwood harvest to be reduced.

“We’re looking out to create employment for our folk and proceed to pause connected and score our households a long way off from the issues in town.

“We’re going to not develop that if our economies are threatened by the government flooding the market — that wants to be reduced so we are able to have a massive gamble.”

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Australian native sandalwood at threat, industry groups warn