Sandal (Santalum album L.) conservation in southern India: A review of policies and their impacts

Dhanya Bhaskar, Syam Viswanath, Seema Purushothaman


Legal barriers for growing sandal, have so far prevented private initiatives for domestication/conservation of this prized tree of Indian forests, accelerated its illegal harvesting from natural forests, and admittedly failed to conserve this resource. We attempted to critically examine the sandal conservation efforts in India especially from a policy perspective, through a detailed review of the various Acts framed for conserving this resource and regulating its extraction and trade. Legal constraints that hamper private initiatives in ex situ sandal conservation/domestication and inconsistency in legal provisions related to sandal extraction and trade among the major producer states of southern India viz. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala are the principal focus of this paper. The need for liberalization of the existing policy regime and evolution of a comprehensive management strategy for sandal, focusing on tree domestication and strengthening of in situ conservation measures backed by imaginative participatory management strategies, are highlighted.


Participatory management, Sandal extraction, Trade liberalization, Tree domestication

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A KAU publication [CODEN: JTAGEI; ISSN 0971-636X; eISSN 0973-5399]