Essential oil from the Amazonian rosewood tree (Aniba rosaeodora Ducke) is valued as an important aromatic ingredient in luxury perfumes. Due to over-harvesting in recent decades, rosewood is now listed as an endangered species. Rosewood tree planting is now considered a viable alternative to logging as it can support both reforestation and sustainable agriculture thanks to sales of the essential oil extracted. We planted 605 rosewood trees in French Guiana from two seeds of local provenance, in a 5 445 m2 plot surrounded by primary forest. Nine years after planting, we assessed the effect of the position of the tree relative to the surrounding forest and of the seed provenance on dendrometric traits (height, circumference, above ground woody biomass) and hence on the yield of essential oil. Measurements were made on 99 trees. Average growth rates for the young trees were 0.7 m/year in height, 2.5 cm/year in stem circumference and 990.5 kg dry mass/ha/year in aboveground biomass, while essential oil yields ranged from 0.6% to 3.6% with a mean of 2.1%. The position of the tree relative to the surrounding forest was the main factor affecting tree growth and essential oil production: trees located close to the surrounding forest were significantly smaller and accumulated less essential oil due to the reduced availability of light. Seed provenance had less effect on dendrometric traits and essential oil yields. In conclusion, although planting practices will need to be adapted to avoid the edge effects of proximity to the forest, short-rotation cultivation of rosewood trees could be the optimum and most economically attractive system for the production of essential oil.
Amusant, N., Digeon, A., Descroix, L., Bruneau, O., Bezard, V., & Beauchène, J. (2015). Planting rosewood for sustainable essential oil production: Influence of surrounding forest and seed provenance on tree growth and essential oil yields. Bois et Forets Des Tropiques, (326), 57–65. https://doi.org/10.19182/bft2015.326.a31283