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Explained: Logs Of Blood


There is huge demand overseas, especially in China and Japan, where Red Sanders furniture and other items are status symbols.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala |
Indian Express, Updated: April 8, 2015

What is Red Sanders?

Red Sanders, botanical name Pterocarpus santalinus, is a non-fragrant variety of sandalwood that mostly grows in rocky, hilly regions. Saplings reach 8 to 10 m in 3-4 years, but growth slows down after that. The trunks are slender, and it takes at least 20-25 years for the tree’s beautiful, deep red wood to be of use. Andhra Pradesh forest department officials say this particular type of Red Sanders grows nowhere else in the world.

Where exactly does it grow?

In the thorny scrub/dry deciduous forests of the central Deccan, between 500 ft and 3000 ft. Geographically, only in a small pocket roughly 5,200 sq km in the Palakonda and Seshachalam hills in the districts of Kadapa and Chittoor, in some contiguous areas of Anantapur district, in the Nallamalla forests in Kurnool and Prakasam, and in parts of Nellore district. Some contiguous patches in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka see some wild growth.

Why is it coveted?

There is very little supply. Red Sanders is a fast disappearing species restricted to a tiny geographical area. Felling is illegal, export is highly restricted. Permission is required to fell and sell even trees in private farms. But there is big demand overseas, especially in China and Japan, where Red Sanders furniture, chess sets and musical instruments are status symbols. In the black market, a tonne of Red Sanders fetches between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 30 lakh depending on its quality (Grade A, B, or C).

AP graph

How is the trade controlled?




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