Conservation and Reversing Species Extinction:

Agarwood is actually a trade name for the dark resinous woods, which are extracted from the Aquilaria sp. trees and processed to essential oil, called oud. From the raw agarwood, processing arrived at different grades and by-products, which are priced differently according to the market demand, ranging from USD100 to USD100,000.

The hunt for expensive agarwood in the wild without a sustainable approach and public education towards improving its dwindling stocks is driving the species to extinction.

Promoting cultivation of trees and learning how to inoculate to induce production of agarwood is key to reversing the extinction.

IBI is by far the only legit Agarwood company in the country whom can walk you through towards understanding the peculiarities of its cultivation and legitimizing the business of agarwood trade, as protected species.

The professionals behind its establishment are seasoned on agarwood plantation business in various part of the region: Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore and the Philippines, who are highly qualified to assist interested farmers and group/s, considering growing Aquilaria sps.

Agarwood is not automatically produced in the plant. Not all of these trees would have agarwood in it, if not infected or inoculated. Only about less than 10% produce economic quantity of agarwood.

Cultivation is a long, and towards inducement of agarwood production, becoming a delicate process, which everyone should pay attention to, to optimize its benefits.

Cultivation of Agarwood-Producing Tree Species:

There are 21 species of Agarwood-producing trees worldwide, 10 of which tribes in the Philippines (see list below). This includes Aquilaria malaccesis, which is a market preferred species and considered high-yielding, at least in responsiveness to available inoculation and induction techniques so far developed.

The trees are cultivated to healthy robust trees, until reaching the desired age (6-8yrs old) when they are ready for inoculation of disease agents (pathogens). to induce production of infected wood called agarwood, which in turned processed into oud oil. The production of agarwood is a result of the tree’s defense mechanism to fight back the disease and produce resin/oil contained in the stained wood.

Agarwood-Producing Species and country of occurrence:

  • Aquilaria malaccensis (Lao PDR, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Bhutan, Burma, Philippines, Singapore)
  • Aquilaria apiculate (Borneo)
  • Aquilaria baillonii (Cambodia, Indochina, Thailand)
  • Aquilaria banaensis (Vietnam)
  • Aquilaria beccariana (South Eastern Asia)
  • Aquilaria brachyantha (Southeast Asia – Philippines)
  • Aquilaria citrinicarpa (Southeast Asia – Philippines (Mindanao)
  • Aquilaria crassna (Thailand,Cambodia, Indochina, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Bhutan)
  • Aquilaria cumingiana (Indonesia)
  • Aquilaria decemcostata (Philippines)
  • Aquilaria filarial (Indonesia)
  • Aquilaria hirta (Malaysia, Indonesia)
  • Aquilaria khasiana (India)
  • Aquilaria microcarpa (Indonesia, Borneo)
  • Aquilaria parvifolia (Philippines (Luzon)
  • Aquilaria rostrate (Malaysia)
  • Aquilaria rugose (Papua New Guinea)
  • Aquilaria sinensis (China)
  • Aquilaria subintegra (Thailand)
  • Aquilaria urdanetensis (Philippines)
  • Aquilaria yunnanensis (China).

Inoculation to Induce Agarwood Production.

The old traditional methods for agarwood induction include deliberate wounding of trees with large knives and hammering nails into tree trunks, which normally takes some 30 years for natural infection to produce commercial quantity of AW. Over the years, the practice has expanded to include the use of certain chemicals and micro-organisms, and the creation of modern inducement formulations. Using modern inducement techniques, the tree can be induced on the 8th yr and allow 2 years for infection to develop and then harvest the tree on the 10th year.

The cost of inoculation, is currently high and in most cases prohibitive to ordinary farmers, hence, industry support is necessary in the long-term. Formulators normally engaged into contract with tree owners to inoculate their trees based on girth of trees and on a per tree basis.

They use microbes and chemicals to accelerate the production of agarwood in standing trees and yielded varying quantity and quality of agarwood:

Major factor influencing the quality and quantity of agarwood production are:

  • Age of the tree prior to inoculation
  • Health and vigor of the plant prior to inoculation
  • Time lapse from infection/inoculation
  • Season (wet vs. dry)
  • Geographical location
  • Genetic of the species
  • Receptiveness of the species to the mixes of pathogens used

Some of the known pathogens used for tree inoculation are as follows:

  • Aspergillus sp
  • Botryodiplodia theobromae
  • Cladosporium sp
  • Cunninghamella echinulate
  • Cylimndrocladium
  • Epicoccum granulatum
  • Fusarium sp.
  • Melanotus flavolivens
  • Penicillium sp
  • Phialophora parasitica
  • Phomopsis sp.
  • Sphaeropsis sp.
  • Torula sp.
  • Trichoderma sp.,

The commercial inoculation involves drilling around mechantable part of the tree and then injected with the pathogens which comes in various formulation, as explained above.

Trees are inspected using ocular and sonar inspection by injuring and tapping the trees on the injection points on the trunk to determine the degree of infection and projected quantity and quality of harvest. If unsatisfied on the result of the 1st inoculation, a second inoculation is done until its determined ready for harvest.

Note: Trees may prematurely die without producing the desired quantity of agarwood, then wasted or reduced to low grade of agarwood by-products.

Harvesting. The diseased or infected trees are extracted by felling the tree, buck the trunk and open it to manually extract the agarwood, then sorted for grades. Some grades are grounded, soaked in water for sometime, then distilled to extract the oil called “oud” for the perfume, flavor and fragrance market. Some grades are transformed to incense sticks for religious ceremonies.

Health Benefits:

  • Stimulant, generates positive energy
  • Use as tonic, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritis, analgesic, anti-cancer therapy, tranquilizer
  • Improves appetite and digestion
  • Said, to open the third eye and chakras in the body

Sustainability, Renewability and Carbon-Neutral.

IBI supports the protection and conservation of Agarwood-producing trees in natural forest stand. Its advocacy is to cultivate the species under a managed plantation scheme, including backyard farming and Agarwood-based agroforestry scheme. It plans to support and encourage the growth of the industry towards a sustainable, renewable and carbon-neutral system of development and utilization. A wholistic project cycle approach, which integrates, technology dissemination and market availability. Selective cutting and replacement planting should be adopted as appropriate, and with the guidance of the regulatory agencies of the government headed by DENR-BMB. Registration and geotagging of trees planted, will be encouraged, to help investors and regulatory agencies monitor its development and trade.

Harvesting scheme shall adopt biomass recycling, and will encourage mulching and composting of wood chips waste in place - plantation. As waste wood chips, containing 90-80% of the sequestered carbon of the tree, are utilize in place, that improves the soil and water retention, organic matter dynamics, and restoration of the soil, as well, making the scheme carbon neutral, to say the least.