Sustainability and Reforestation Efforts

There have been great efforts to try and conserve the agarwood tree while trying to meet the evergrowing demands from the public.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments aimed at ensuring that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. This includes requiring export permits and ensuring that all trade is legal and sustainable. 

Most Aquilaria species used for agarwood are listed under Appendix II under CITES:

“Appendix II: Includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but in which trade must be controlled to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival“

These are some of the sustainable harvesting techniques plantations and agarwood harvesters are using:

  • Inoculation: Artificially inducing the resin production in living trees without harming them, which can prevent the need to cut down trees to harvest agarwood
  • Selective Harvesting: Taking only parts of the tree or allowing trees to reach a certain age before harvesting, which helps preserve the forest and its capacity to regenerate

These controlled environments use both natural and artificial inoculation methods to produce agarwood, ensuring a continuous and sustainable supply. To reduce pressure on wild populations, agarwood plantations have been established in several countries, including India, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia. 

Ongoing research into the cultivation practices, biology, and ecological requirements of Aquilaria species helps improve the efficiency and sustainability of agarwood production. Research is also focused on better understanding the conditions under which the trees produce resin and how to replicate these conditions in plantation settings. 

Synthetic oud offers a sustainable and ethical alternative to natural oud, reducing demand on endangered Aquilaria trees and addressing overharvesting issues. It provides a consistent, cost-effective supply that avoids ethical issues linked to natural extraction, such as habitat destruction and labor exploitation. While not replacing the complex scent of natural oud for purists, synthetic oud facilitates innovation in perfumery and broadens market access, making oud fragrances more affordable and globally accepted. 


  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora applies to the trade of agarwood trees to avoid extinction
  • Inoculation and selective harvesting is used to manage the harvesting of agarwood tree
  • Controlled plantations are an alternative to harvesting wild agarwood trees
  • Constant research development needed to better understand the conditions to produce and replicate oud Synthetic oud is sustainable and ethical alternative
This is the third and final part of a three-part series exploring Oud. Previous installments will delve into the impact of Oud on local communities and the environment, together with the history and reasons for the demand for Oud. By gaining a deeper understanding of luxurious and branded products like Oud, we can better appreciate their true value and significance in the mainstream market. This series also highlights the importance of resisting impulse buying driven by trends and the allure of expensive, popular items, encouraging more mindful and meaningful consumption.

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