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Sandalwood gets better with age

11 December 2017

The Forest Products Commission has confirmed that sandalwood oil yield and quality improves with age.

The results of this trial will be published in the next issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Australian Forestry.

Senior Forester Ecology Jon Brand said the trial was established 20 years ago by Conservation and Land Management.

“Six families of WA sandalwood were planted to test aromatic oil yield and quality over time,” Jon said.

The results of the trial found that both oil yield and quality increased significantly with age, supporting the idea that the sandalwood trees should be left in the ground for their full 25 to 30 year rotation.

The trial also found that oil production and tree form appeared to be partly genetically related, with some of the sandalwood families producing higher oil yields than their counterparts at both the 10 and 18 year marks.

“This provides evidence that there is scope for selecting superior sandalwood trees to produce higher oil yields,” Jon said.

The value of a sandalwood tree is mainly determined by the amount of oil and the quality of the oil contained within it. The results of this trial could lead to an increase in the value derived from sandalwood. 

“The results are very exciting. It’s been a long process so it’s great to get such a positive outcome and to have the results published in Australian Forestry,” Jon said.

Congratulations to Jon, Len Norris and Mike Cully for their work on the trial.


An abstract of the article, with the full article available for purchase, is featured on the Australian Forestry Journal website.