India’s Green Light for Red Sanders Trade
India has been permitted to trade Red Sanders (Red Sandalwood) from plantations, a development following the International Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding’s findings that unique climatic and geological factors contribute to the tree’s limited natural distribution.
Global Distribution and Importing Nations
The Red Sanders species, covering 82% of the wild area, is endemic to the Southern Eastern Ghats of India. Key importing countries include:
Europe: Germany, France, Netherlands, UK, Italy
West Asia: Israel, Saudi Arabia, UAE
East Asia: China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore
Harvesting and Ecological Impact
The tree prefers shallow brown soil and requires hot and dry climates. Plantations can harvest Red Sanders in about 30 years, while natural populations take 70-80 years to reach a significant girth.
CITES Delisting and Sustainable Trade
CITES has removed India from the ‘Review of Significant Trade’ list, acknowledging the country’s efforts since 1976 to regulate trade and conserve the naturally growing species, thus allowing India to export plantation-grown Red Sanders.
Conservation Efforts and Regulatory Challenges
Despite protections, illegal harvesting continues, posing a threat to the species. The government has established quotas for exports based on the Non-Detrimental Finding (NDF) reports submitted on its cultivation.
Government Initiatives for Red Sanders
The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEFCC) notes that CITES’ decision will bolster farming, particularly in states like Gujarat, where Red Sanders has been successfully cultivated.
India’s strides in Red Sanders conservation, accompanied by enhanced trade opportunities, reflect a commitment to sustainable use and the strengthening of regulatory frameworks to protect this valuable species.