Enhancing the formation of heartwood in sandalwood in Vanuatu

Sandalwood harvester
Project code
AUD 250,000
Research program manager
Dr Nora Devoe
Project leader
Liz Barbour - University of Western Australia
Commissioned organisation
The University of Western Australia
MAR 2017
NOV 2019
Project status
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The project aimed to identify practical methods to increase heartwood development in Vanuatu Sandalwood.

Sandalwood offers farming diversity and an economic opportunity for Vanuatu. Heartwood formation and sandalwood oil deposition, determines sandalwood value. This project explored the regulation of sandalwood heartwood formation through the identification and implementation of chemical treatments. Knowing the genes and enzymes that produce sandalwood oil provided a basic understanding. Missing was understanding gene regulation as sandalwood heartwood and oil yield fluctuate widely between trees. This work builds on earlier ACIAR work on sandalwood silviculture and breeding in Vanuatu.

Project outcomes

  • Synthesising the current literature on heartwood formation in Sandalwood.
  • Establishing research and site relationships for Sandalwood heartwood stimulation experiments in Vanuatu.
  • Testing and identifing compounds that stimulate heartwood formation in tree branches.
  • Exploring non-invasive treatment applications that stimulate whole-tree oil production.
  • Promoting an understanding of heartwood formation and silviculture techniques to stimulate its production in Vanuatu through close collaboration with the Vanuatu Forest Department.
Key partners
Department of Forests