Pacific sandalwood: Growers' guide for sandalwood production in the Pacific region

Date released
23 June 2022
Publication Code

Tony Page, David Bush, Bronwyn Clarke and Lex Thomson


Sandalwood trees (Santalum spp.) are highly valued for their fragrant heartwood oils, which have been used for centuries for religious and customary purposes. Now sandalwood oil is in demand internationally for cosmetics, aromatherapy, scenting of soaps, perfumery and medicines. The oil-bearing heartwood is also used for ornamental or ceremonial carvings, and powdered for the manufacture of incense joss sticks.

For the past 30 years, ACIAR has invested in considerable research and development of best practices for the cultivation of sandalwood by smallholder farmers, coincident with rapidly expanding areas of smallholder plantings. In 2012, ACIAR published Vanuatu sandalwood – Growers’ guide for sandalwood production in Vanuatu. The guide provided very practical guidelines, informed by research, for establishing productive sandalwood woodlots and was well used not only in Vanuatu, but in Fiji and Tonga as well.

Continued and growing interest in sandalwood production beyond these countries has led to a review and update of the original guide to produce this new guide for smallholders and their advisors in Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea and Australia, as well as in Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga.

The investment of ACIAR and its brokering of collaborative research and development, as well as further investment to extend the outcomes of the research, will increase the sustainable supply of sandalwood and improve the incomes of smallholder growers throughout the Pacific region.

Translations of this book are available in: