Introduction To Agarwood Farming

The following information is about Cyultivation Practices of Agarwood or Agarwood Farming.

Agarwood is called as Woods of God. The scientific name of Agarwood is Aquilaria and the scientific name of Aquilaria is resinous heartwood. It is native of South East Asia. Agarwood is the infected wood of Aquilaria. It is a forest tree and reaches a height of 40 meters and 80 centimeters wide approximately. These wild trees become infected by some molds or parasitic fungi called Phialophora parasitica and begin to produce Agarwood in heartwood due to unaffected response to this attack. It is an odorless prior infection. As the infection progresses, it gives dark resin embedded in heartwood. This embedded wood is valuable. It gives remarkable fragrance and thus used in incense and perfumes. These aromatic qualities are influenced by the species, geographic location, trunk, branch, root origin, time taken since  infection and methods of harvesting and processing.  Approximately 10% of wild mature Aquilaria tree can naturally produce resin. 

Agarwood  Properties And Common Names:

Aquilaria showing darker Agarwood and poachers scraped off the bark and allow the tree to become infected by a mould. Underwood can be called by different names in different countries.  Some are agar in Hindi; Aguru in Sanskrit Kannada and in Telegu; Akil in Tamil and Sasi in Assam etc., Agarwood formation occurs in the roots and trunk of the trees and that have penetrated by an insect .  The tree produces a salutary self-defense material to conceal the damages. The unaffected wood is light in colour and the resin increases the mass and density of the affected wood by changing its colour. Oud oil has been distilled from agar using steam.  It produces It is used as incense in religious ceremonies and in spiritual practices. Agarwood undergo a series of steam distillation and produces different grades of oil of varying strengths costing according to the grade. Undiluted oil is safe to use on the skin.  It helps the body as a stimulant, tonic, anti inflammatory, digestive, analgesic, anti arthritic,  antipuritic, improves appetite and as a tranquilizer. It helps in opening of the third eye and all chakras in the body. It is used in anticancer therapy.  Generates positive energy.

Agarwood Plant Characteristics:

  • Agarwood, aloeswood or ghruwood is the dark resinous fragrant wood used in small Carvings, incense and perfume.
  • Due to the depletion of the wild resource, the cost of Agarwood is high.
  • The smell of Agarwood is pleasing and complex with few or no natural analogues.

Agarwood Varieties:

Most of the species of Aquilaria when effected naturally or artificially turns into Agarwood. These species occur in different places all over the world. The properties and characteristics of  Agarwood oil produced are independent of each other.

There are 21 species of Aquilaria are recognized so far. They are as follows:

Aquilaria apiculate (Borneo)

  1. Aquilaria baillonii (Cambodia, Indochina, Thailand)
  2. Aquilaria banaensis (Vietnam)
  3. Aquilaria beccariana (South Eastern Asia)
  4. Aquilaria brachyantha (Southeast Asia – Philippines)
  5. Aquilaria citrinicarpa (Southeast Asia – Philippines (Mindanao))
  6. Aquilaria crassna (Thailand,Cambodia, Indochina, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Bhutan)
  7. Aquilaria cumingiana (Indonesia)
  8. Aquilaria decemcostata (Philippines)
  9. Aquilaria filarial (Indonesia)
  10. Aquilaria hirta (Malaysia, Indonesia)
  11. Aquilaria khasiana (India)
  12. Aquilaria malaccensis (Lao PDR, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bhutan, Burma)
  13. Aquilaria microcarpa (Indonesia, Borneo)
  14. Aquilaria parvifolia (Philippines (Luzon))
  15. Aquilaria rostrate (Malaysia)
  16. Aquilaria rugose (Papua New Guinea)
  17. Aquilaria sinensis (China)
  18. Aquilaria subintegra (Thailand)
  19. Aquilaria urdanetensis (Philippines)
  20. Aquilaria yunnanensis (China).

Soil And Climatic Conditions For Agarwood Farming:

Agarwood generally grows well in hilly areas greater than 750 meters above sea level. It has been grown in yellow, red podzolic, clay sandy soil. The temperature ranges from 20 0 C to 330 C at an average. It can be grown at rainfall between 2,000 and 4,000mm.  Soil solum thickness more than 50cms. These trees can be grown well at different forests and ecosystem. The environmental conditions influenced by the characteristics and fertility of the soil.  The sapling could grow temperature of 20-33 0 C, relative humidity ranging from 77-85% and intensity of light 56-75% in between. Meanwhile, at 200 meters above sea level, the conditions slightly vary. However, optimum environmental factors for Agarwood production still need further study.

Read: Spirulina Farming Project Report.

Plantation Of  Agarwood:

The Agarwood plantation can be done by many people by using techniques of artificial inoculation. With these techniques, one can achieve Agarwood in a short period of time than decades (by natural means). For getting good results,  good quality of sapling can be chosen.

Aquilaria Seedlings:

To attain the need of Agarwood, it is very important to plant more trees to meet the demand. Currently, 20 percent of Agarwood is producing. Cultivation could be done successfully through private nurseries. Identifying Aquilaria containing seed is the first step of cultivation. The process of propagation takes place at the stage of seed maturation. The propagation could be done immediately after bursting as the seeds have short viability and lose its viability when exposed to the atmosphere. With proper planning, management skills and storing, large number of Aquilaria seedlings have been produced.

Range Of Cultivation:

The Aquilaria can be grown in different soils, different conditions and marginal lands. The interesting and important fact about this is it can be cultivated in the farmland,  in the home garden or inter-cropping with other trees.

Artificial Inoculation In Agarwood Farming:

It includes only fungal inoculation, but not chemicals. In this method, fungi can be induced in the xylem of Aquilaria. Within a short period of time (2-3 hours), inducer gets transported to all the parts of the tree leading to wounds on the tree. After quite a few months, resinous wood forms around the wound in the parts of the tree like roots, trunk and branches. After initial treatment of few days, we can observe cross sections of all the branches. Resinous wood can be observed in the living tree after 4 months. Soft scent can be obtained when the wood is baked with fire. At the time of harvesting, the root portion will be dug out and the resin can be segregated from the Aquilaria tree.

Land Preparation And Planting In Agarwood Farming:

It is important to assess ecological conditions to select potential species which can be survived and grown. Many planting have been dying  after 3 to 4 years of plantation due to stagnant water but not of the soil and climate. Plantation can be done in sloping lands to reduce mortality. The seedlings are transplanted into the ground after attaining a height of 60-90 centimeters. Older seedlings are not advisable due to root coiling in the poly bag confined if it is not big enough. Better avoid of seedling with small poly bag and older seedling of 120 centimeters above.

Following method gives 99 % of surviving rate:

Preparing the hole 40x40x40. Leave the hole with rain, sunlight and oxygenated soil helps to root growth. If the soil is hard,  coco peat can be added to loosen the soil mixture,  coco peat has great oxygenated properties. Phosphorous can also be obtained from TSP (Triple Super Phosphate)   and DAP (Di Ammonium Phosphate). Over dosage may lead to seedling damage. These are highly soluble and dissolves quickly in the soil and releases available phosphate to the  plant. 15 % of  cow dung which acts as an organic fertilizer and 20 grams of Funadan is added to minimize the attack of insects. The hole can be covered to the appropriate level and   seedling 2 inches above the planting surface.  Poly bag can be removed and seedling can be kept in the hole. Seedling chamber can be covered to improve water catchment. 

Manure And Fertilizer Requirement For Agarwood Farming:

Coco peat has to be added to the soil to loosen the soil. It has more oxygenated properties. Phosphorous added to the soil from Triple Superphosphate (TSP) and Di ammonium Phosphate (DAP). These are highly soluble and dissolves quickly in the soil and releases available phosphate to the plant. Cow dung acts as an organic fertilizer and 20 grams of Funadan is added to resist the attack of insects.

Harvesting Techniques in Agarwood Farming:

Harvesting includes,  selection, the useful process of felling, a depiction of different collector types (local and nonlocal) and their relationship with traders. Harvest of Agarwood, either a temporary or permanent occupation. Collectors depend on Agarwood for their income are linked to middleman through a credit system. They in turn connected with 50-100 collectors at an average and may be independent, or they may be dependent on a single trader. The Agarwood is used for medicinal purposes locally, but based on information compiled during this study, it appears that the majority of harvested Agarwood is exported.

Pests In Agarwood Farming:

Agarwood  plants suffer from the leaf pests attack known as Heortia vitessoides Moore.

Yield Of Agarwood:

The total yield of oil for 70 kg of wood not exceeding 20 ml.  Approximately 20 species of Aquilaria produce Agarwood. The average yield from single tree is approximately 4kgs. The current price is 50,000.00 to 2,00,000 lakhs. The yield from one Agarwood tree is 1,00,000 approximately.