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Latest information and developments in the native Australian sandalwood   industry.

Over the last decade we have all been working hard to grow our sandalwood and it appears this is being achieved very successfully. A recent Government initiative is the transition from the wild harvest to plantation wood in the years ahead and now the industry needs to prepare for, and recognise, the challenges ahead.

The Australian Sandalwood Network (ASN) has been invited to work with the WA State Government  and other forest industry groups to look at these challenges and develop a forestry plan for Western Australia. Titled the “Forest Industry Working Group”, this group is to clearly outline areas where significant progress can be achieved in the whole forest industry.

As part of this working group the ASN is representing all Santalum spicatum growers in WA. The ASN would like to maintain a strong lobbying function for the industry at a time when crucial changes to the regulation of the industry are being discussed.

Therefore the ASN would like all private/non- government sandalwood growers to have an opportunity to put forward their views and be aware of this opportunity.

Royalties for Regions have proposed funding of up to $150,000 for the further promotion and development of the spicatum industry. In cooperation with the ASN the private sector needs to initiate a plan and a budget that will make good use of this promotional opportunity and propel the sandalwood industry forward.

 

To date the following issues have been identified as the most significant.

  1. Develop an inventory of private plantations, their quality and quantity.

At present very little is factually known about the private sandalwood crop. The ASN would like to compile this information in order to understand where the industry is at and where it might be heading. All growers would have planted their sandalwood believing it would remain a high value tree crop into the future. In order to maintain the value of WA sandalwood this information appears essential. It will give us some idea of supply that will come on stream in 5,10 and 20 years time.

  1. Develop a registry for plantations and growers for: Environmental regulatory protection, Security of ownership, Insurance and to simplify licencing requirements

As well to collating this information the ASN would also like to compile and hold a “Registry” of private plantations.

The benefits of a registry could be many:

  •  Security for growers. Non registered product would encounter difficulties entering  the supply chain. This forms part of the Chain of Custody designed to deter theft and corruption.
  •  Proof of intent to harvest in the future. Protection from Environmental regulations that may change in the future.
  •  Forest Insurance. Group insurance that spreads the risk across the state.
  •     Individual property insurance for forestry is a high cost item and very significant savings can be made by utilising group insurance.
  • * Simplify licensing requirements by being a registered grower. This also is part of the Chain of Custody model being developed for the whole of the sandalwood supply chain, from trees in the ground to consumer end use. It can be made simple but effective.

 

This registry would be updated annually and be entirely voluntary. It would remain the confidential property of the ASN and would be a simple grower driven document that would be included in a growers’ membership of the ASN. ASN could consider  requests to release some generic information if it could help further the sandalwood industry as a whole .

 

  1. Develop an industry standard grading system for supply chain assurance

A grading standard for plantation wood, given that the quality of plantation wood in the future may vary considerably from “wild wood”. In order to provide a consistent quality product that preserves and enhances Western Australia’s reputation as the worlds’ leading supplier of sustainable, ethical and environmentally responsible product, an industry wide standard would be an advantage. Growers would also benefit by knowing what they are producing and understanding the value of their product. There has been strong support offered by industry to develop this standard.

  1. Research and Development of Genetics

Research and development of the genetics responsible for growth rates, oil quality and quantity, age to maturity/heartwood, form and many other aspects of the sandalwood tree are vital to the future of the industry. Cooperation between government and private research has strengthend recently and needs to be developed further. The ASN is currently working with FPC to collate all of the information available to date and plan reseach going forward. It is desirable to establish seed orchards of the highest genetics that can be identified for industry use.

  1. Research into new technology

Technology such as ultrasound that will allow significant assessment of the quality of both plantations and individual trees. Some exploratry work has been done but nothing of significance that we know of. However this technology could allow quick and easy identification of commercialy viable trees that are ready for harvest.

  1. The strengthening and expansion of the nut industry.

There is demand for sandalwood spicatum nuts. Prices range from $4.50 to $3.00 kg delivered clean. At present this demand appears limted, yet it has not been met. Debate continues as to what an economicly viable price for the wholesale nut is, as well as to what demand for the nut can be achieved. But the fact remains that there is a market for sandalwood nuts at present. Consideration needs to be given to the long term future for the nut and its place in the cultivated sandalwood industry.

  1. Continue working with Government and Industry

Ongoing cooperation with Government and Industry to ensure the growth of the cultivated sandalwood. Dialogue has been extensive recently after many years of disjointed participation between govt, industry and growers. The establishment of the Forest Industry Working Group has offered significant benefits and it would be desirable to keep this dialogue going.

Obtaining a more accurate assessment of the economic return of cultivated sandalwood in order to further develop the industry would also be of benefit.

 

Contact Us

Australian Sandalwood Network Inc
PO Box 853, Toodyay WA 6566
Tel: (08) 9574 5882
exec@sandalwood.org.au

Sandalwood Fact Sheets

Sandalwood Fact Sheet No. 1 Preparation & Planning for your Sandalwood Plantation

Sandalwood Fact Sheet No. 2 Plantation Layout & Site Preparation for your Sandalwood Plantation

Sandalwood Fact Sheet No. 3 Sandalwood Establishment

Sandalwood Fact Sheet No. 4 Ongoing Management of Sandalwood Plantation

Sandalwood Fact Sheet No. 5 Natural Resource Managment benefits

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