Posted on 19 Aug 2021
The trafficking of the endangered sandalwood in East Africa has been on the rise despite a 2013 ban on the harvest in the region. There has been a growing illicit market with the high value tree over harvested for its essential oil used in the pharmaceuticals and cosmetic industries. The heartwood of the trunk, main branches and roots contain this essential oils that blends well with many fragrance materials, reason why it has become a common blender-fixative used in numerous perfumes. Environmental experts say the harvesting methods used are highly destructive since the whole plant needs to be uprooted, leading to a serious depletion in its numbers and interference with its regeneration process.
Unganisha Cultures in collaboration with the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime (GI- TOC) under their Resilience Fund will bring together experts prevention of sandalwood trafficking and key aspects when it comes to conservation of sandalwood. The virtual event seeks to inform on the existing gaps in agriculture and commercial forestry in regards to sandalwood in East Africa, who is to be engaged in the domestication, what are the adoption strategies needed especially when talking about climate and its role in economic development and lastly, what policies are needed to protect sandalwood in East Africa from trafficking?