Gaharu or Agarwood (or just Agar) is the resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees, large evergreens native to southeast Asia. The trees occasionally become infected with mold and begin to produce an aromatic resin in response to this attack. As the infection grows, it results in a very rich, dark resin within the heartwood.

Khamis, 14 Oktober 2010


Commercial Gaharu Cultivation in Sarawak

Commercial cultivation of Gaharu in Sarawak is gaining momentum and contributes to the livelihood of the local communities.

Gaharu also known as agarwood, eaglewood or aloeswood is the name for resinous, fragrant and highly valuable heartwood produced by Aquilaria malaccensis and other species of the Indomalesian tree genus Aquilaria from the family of Thymeleaceae. It is among the most valuable tree species found in Sarawak in which at least three species were identified namely Aquilaria malaccensis, Aquilaria beccariana and Aquilaria microcarpa (Tawan, 2003). It is found in the plain hill slopes and ridges of up to 750m in both primary and secondary lowland dipterocarp forests.

Gaharu plays important roles in human lives. In Arab, many considered it as part of their culture and religion.

The high class of the Japanese society used it in the rituals of the Kod Doh, an incense appreciation ceremony. Both India and China had the legacy of Gaharu usage in their traditional medicine. In China, it is widely used to treat gastralgia, gastric ulcers, gastroptosis, kidney, liver and respiratory problems. It helped in blood circulation and had a complete antibiotic function against tubercle, typhoid and diarrhea bacillus.

The Chinese also used Gaharu for religious ceremonies, perfume, liquor and tea.

The European version of Gaharu is represented by the French perfume floracopia where the perfume brand “Yves Saint Laurent M7” is using Gaharu oil as its base or fixer to the other fragrance.

According to Forestry Department, Peninsular Malaysia, Gaharu prices in 2007 were RM25,000 per kg, RM20,000 per kg, RM18,000 per kg, RM15,000 per kg, RM8,000 per kg and RM3,000 per kg for super grade, grade A, grade B, grade C, grade D and grade E respectively. Prices for other grades were between RM500 – RM1,000 per kg. Prices of Gaharu chips on the other hand were between RM5 – RM100 per kg. Market survey conducted by the said department in 2007 revealed that Gaharu prices increased by at least five times in four years.

The cultivation of Aquilaria microcarpa and Aquilaria beccariana in Sarawak are in the form of in-situ mixed cropping (agrisilviculture) system, home-garden and ex-situ intercropping (mixture of timber and Aquilaria species). The earliest record of Aquilaria microcarpatree cultivation was back in early 1960s when the Kenyah community in Long Gang, Belaga involved themselves in collecting and trading of wild Gaharu. In order to conduct growth study, planting trial of 1.2 ha was done at Sabal Agroforestry Centre in April 2005. Mixed planting of Aquilaria microcarpa and Calophyllumtesymaniivar.

inophylloide (anti-HIV Bintangor species) were planted under a 22-year old Acacia mangium and old secondary forest vegetation. After six months, the first assessment was done where survival rate was 93.7 percent and another assessment was done in August 2007 where survival rate was 83 percent. At the same time, under the Community Forestry Project funded by the State Government (D60/06) poly-bags and other nursery supplies were distributed to the project participants in Long Bedian, Ulu Baram and an in-situ site in Uma Badeng, Asap, Belaga areas for them to collect Gaharu wild seedlings. As at March 2007, there are 9,742 standing Aquilaria microcarpa plants under cultivation recorded in Sarawak and another 18,000 plants are available at the nursery.

According to The Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1958 (Chapter 128) Amendment 1998, Second Schedule, CITES permit is required for Gaharu commercial cultivation, collection, propagation as well as import and export.

Gaharu from the species of Aquilaria malaccensis was listed under CITES Appendix II with annotation 1 since 17th February 1995 and thereafter it included other Aquilaria species since 17th February 2005. The Authority to issue CITES permit in Sarawak is the Forest Department.

Commercial cultivation of Gaharu in Sarawak is gaining momentum and contributes to the livelihood of the local communities. Gaharu was also proven to be a potential source of new genes as well as new products particularly drugs. Thus, it is valuable to the international agricultural and pharmaceutical industries.

Genecological zonation therefore should be done either using the agro-forestry or community forestry approach to conserve the genetic resources of Gaharu. The adoption of ethno-knowledge of the local communities and scientific approach are crucial in ensuring a brighter future of Gaharu.


Apa Dia Gaharu?

Gaharu atau kayu karas adalah sejenis pohon yang mengeluarkan resin atau minyak yang sangat harum. Jangka masa bagi pohon gaharu ini untuk mengeluarkan resin atau minyak mengambil masa sehingga berpuluhan tahun. Tetapi, dengan mengunakan teknologi inokulan, jangka hayat bagi pokok gaharu ini boleh mengeluarkan hasil hanyalah mengambil masa ke 5-7 tahun.
Gaharu datang daripada genus aquilaria. Jenis- jenis yang biasa dan dikatakan paling bermutu merupakan aquilaria malacensis. Spesies-spesies yang lain adalah A. Hirta, A. Beccariana, A. Rostrata, A. Microcarpa A. Subintegra dan A Crassna. Dari dulu dan sekarang, tumbuhan gaharu adalah pokok yang termahal di dunia. Dengan itu pokok gaharu sering di lebalkan sebagai duit atas pokok. Permintaan terhadap gaharu ini memang banyak dan kebiasaannya datang daripada negara-negara Timur Tengah seperti arab Saudi, Taiwan dan Jepun. Kerana permintaan gaharu ini tidak mencukupi, harga gaharu telah meningkat dari setahun kesetahun sehinggakan harganya lebih mahal daripada emas.
Pokok gaharu adalah sangat penting kerana keluasan pengunaannya dari segi perubatan, wangian, minuman kesihatan (teh Gaharu) dan bermacam-macam lagi.
Kebanyakan pokok gaharu ini boleh dijumpai di negara Asia,khususnya Asia Tenggara yang mana dianugerah dengan pokok karas atau gaharu. Ini kerana pokok ini rata-ratanya boleh hidup subur di negara Asia Tengggara sahaja. Negara paling banyak mengeluarkan gaharu ialah Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia,Kemboja, dan Thailand. Adakah baiknya jika negara kita Brunei Darussalam ikut serta dalam industri gaharu sedangkan tanah kita memang sesuai untuk penanaman gaharu ini dan mungkin boleh bersaing dengan mana-mana negeri pengeluaran yang lain.

Karas species in Malaysia

There are many type’s of karas (Aquilaria spp.) species that can produce valuable resin-impregnated heartwood substance called “gaharu” in all it’s range state. In Malaysia, we only found 5 wild species with different distribution area. Let me write more about this species which is found in habitat at latitude between 0 and 1000 m above sea level.
1. Aquilaria hirta
State found : Terengganu, Pahang, Johor,Borneo
2. Aquilaria beccariana
State found : Johor
3. Aquilaria rostrata
State found : Tahan Mountain, Pahang ( hill species),Borneo
4. Aquilaria malaccencis
State found : All state in Malaysia exclude Kedah and Perlis
5. Aquilaria microcarpa
State found : Johor and mangrove area
Nowadays, people start planting karas for commercial purposes. And because of this, there are several more species used in this plantation such as sub-integra and so on.
Further research should be done to make sure the most valuable karas species that can be used for highest profit return at karas plantation. We cannot rely on other country research because they will more focus on the species that can be found in their country. Different environment contribute for different adaptation

Which inoculation technique is the best?

Hi everyone, after a long time not updated something regarding gaharu. Today, I would like to write something about inoculation inducement technique for those who question and interested to know. One of the question is:
Which is the best technique/method to maximise the production of gaharu in terms of the karas and for production of its oil(distillation process)?
In my opinion, the inoculation technolgy is much better compared to traditional method in term of time consuming, cost effective and high yield of production. But the second question come, which is the best inoculation technology?
A successful research on inoculation technique makes people extremely looking for the best technique that can produce high yield and the best quality of agarwood or chips for oil distillation. Everyone claims that they have the best technique. But until now, we still cannot summarize which technique or formulation is the best because of many factors such as countries where gaharu planted, species of gaharu used and apply to wild or planted trees.
In my opinion, we still in very infant stage to decide which technique are the best. Many people in this industry used “try and error” method to see the results. The proven scientific research already started but there’s still a long journey to go.
In our neighbor countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, some of them used CA kits ( Cultivated Agarwood Kits) to produce agarwood from agarwood plantation. The technology to cultivate agarwood in defined plantations was developed by Prof. Robert Blanchette at the University of Minnesota, USA working with Henry Heuveling can Beek of TRP ( The Rainforest Project Foundation). Here I also provided comparative study done through this project between Simple Inducement Nailing Technology and 3rd Generation CA Technology for further information:
Simple Inducement Nailing Technology 3rd Generation CA Technology
Only low yield Highest possible yield
Commercially not viable Commercially viable
High cost/ Low return Medium cost/ High return
High labor intensity Low labor intensity
Simple application Easy application
Technology free Medium cost manufacturer
Training simple Training easy
More than 36 months Duration 12-24 months
Not certified Will be certified
Applied Applied commercially
Scientifically tested Scientifically tested
I got an information from Happy Farmers Co Ltd which is the distributor of CA Kits at Laos stated that CA Kits are the highest yielding, lowest cost and only patented treatment available. On average, a six- to nine-year-old tree can yield 10 – 50 grams of very high quality Grade A resin-saturated black and yellow chips, 200 – 250 grams of medium- high quality chips, up to one kilogram of medium and low quality flakes and powder, and 15 – 25 kg of yellow wood for producing oil and incense.
I also done several experiments ( try and error) to test which  can be consider the best in term of yield, quality and cost effective( involving malaccencis, sub-integra and crassna species). But, I cannot include here yet because still didn’t get the full results of the experiments.
Some of company that dealing with inoculation method in Malaysia are :
1. Gaharuman
2. Gaharu Nano Tech Marketing
3. Green World Aroma Enterprise
4. True Leaf
To know further about what type of inoculation inducement they are using, you all can contact directly with those company. I am not their representative :) , just want to share with those who are looking for those type of services. I will update more about this when I got new information or news regarding this topic.
So far, I think that’s all I can share with all of you. Maybe I am wrong, so your opinion and suggestion are very welcome and appreciated.