Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) is a tree native to Western Australia. It is a rapidly depleting timber commodity with an ever-increasing global market.
A. Of the 15 different species of sandalwood that grow throughout the world, there are 2 main varieties that are traded internationally. These are santalum spicatum (Australian sandalwood) and santalum album (Indian sandalwood). Australian sandalwood currently supplies well over half of all sandalwood traded around the globe annually. Australian sandalwood has historically been used in the agabati and incense markets in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and most other Asian countries. It has been widely accepted in these areas for over 150 years. In recent years Australian sandalwood oil has been incorporated into many high end perfumes and other cosmetic products. Australian sandalwood does produce a lower oil content than Indian sandalwood although it consistently produces the oil forming heartwood from a very young age. Australian plantation sandalwood has been tried and tested in small plantations throughout WA for over 25 years by both private and Government organizations.
A. Western Australia currently has the largest sandalwood plantation resource in the world. Australian sandalwood is being grown in commercial plantations throughout the Wheatbelt of Western Australia, and Indian sandalwood in the tropical far north of WA mainly in the Kununurra region within the Ord River Irrigation Area. There are however some small plantations of Indian sandalwood being grown in India and the Pacific Islands.
A. Oil yield in sandalwood trees varies between species. The oil is present only within the heartwood of the tree. The older the tree, the larger percentage of heartwood exists within the tree therefore the more oil is present within a given tree. On average, Australian sandalwood produces between 3 to 3.5% oil within the heartwood and Indian sandalwood betwen 3.5 and 5%, in its lifetime.
A. In regards to the wood itself, Australian sandalwood can be harvested in as little as 7 years of age for certain uses, although the quality of the wood is low due to the small amount of heartwood. As Australian sandalwood only begins heartwood formation at approximatly year 5, the longer the tree is left to grow the more heartwood will be present resulting is a more valuable product. Commercially, Australian plantation sandalwood is harvested between the age of 12 to 20 years.
Australian sandalwood also produces a valuable nut (seed) from the age of 4 years. The seed is currently valued between $30 and $50 per kg and some 5 year old trees have produced up to 2 kg per tree.
A. Sandalwood trees are root hemi-parasites and require host trees for healthy growth. The host trees provide extra water and nutrients to the sandalwood delivered by a unique root connection called haustoria. The two trees form a symbiotic relationship throughout the life of the sandalwood tree. The best host species are the nitrogen-fixing plants, especially the wattles (Acacias) which are also native to Western Australia.
A. Although there is no defined market for the host trees, there are possibilities for uses such as furniture timber, firewood or they may be left in the ground for revegetation purposes or carbon credits.
A. Australian sandalwood trees start producing seed from around 4 years of age. Currently, the main market is to supply the sandalwood plantation industry. The seed also has great potential within the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries as it has many unique properties within the kernel itself. It has very high levels of protein and may also be used as a food product.
A. The first income for shareholders is expected to be after year 5 from the year of investment and will be driven purely from the seed (nut) harvest.
A. Yes, sandalwood can be planted within a large range of soil types and landscapes
A. It is our company policy to source land that has been previously cleared for farming many years ago. We do not remove any existing reminent vegetation and all properties are fenced to keep out unwanted vermin
A. The impact to wildlife within our plantation properties is only positive. Australian sandalwood and the host trees are not only native to Western Australia, but also native to the local areas that we plant in. Because of this our plantations attract native fauna and provide shelter for native birds and other native animals.
A. No. WA Sandalwood plantations are not driven by tax rulings. We believe our investment model is one of the best available within the sandalwood industry where the investors particpate in the investment of the sandalwood trees, host trees, seed and nut harvest, land and any revenue that each plantation project produces. Our investment model also allows the company to harvest the trees at the most profitable time.
A. Yes, any tree crop contributes to combat climate change through the absorption of greenhouse gases.