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Jakarta Post

Gaharu: Indonesia's endangered fragrant wood

  • Theresia Sufa

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, February 2 2010   /  12:40 pm

Natural products: Natural Gaharu wood, now difficult to find in forests, is cut up and kept in jars. JP/Theresia SufaIndonesia is known as one of the world's producers of gaharu, also called agarwood or just agar, the resinous heartwood from Aquilaria trees, of which 26 species can be found in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, Maluku and Papua. The existence of these trees, however, is under threat. Gaharu is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and has been widely used as an incense as well as for perfumes and medicine. Yana Sumarna, an employee at the Center for Forest Research and Development and Nature Conservation, at Bogor's Forestry Research Agency, said gaharu had drawn the interest of consumers both at home and overseas. The resin looks like a dark brown to black solid lump or a chunk with a fragrant smell (if burned), which is...