But with its increased popularity in recent years, the Peruvian government has been unable to enforce its policies to prevent over-harvesting of Palo Santo. Although there isn’t much of a market for this, Suarez contends, it can happen because most consumers don’t have the luxury of burning palo santo before buying it. But the debate reignited in the spring of 2019. It also comes from a massive region spanning from northern Mexico to Peru, and even the Galapagos Islands. The amount of misinformation and opinion being presented as truth is disappointing and indicative of the fast information culture we live in. “They enjoy that it creates a cultural connection between us.”. Palo Santo good for the forest or not? In a sad twist, the misguided call to boycott, removes opportunities for sustainable livelihood in Ecuador, which actually then encourages forest clearing for cattle grazing and other land-degrading industries, while it does nothing to address the overconsumption of, Indeed, the forests where the type of Palo Santo (, that we provide grows are under a great deal of economic pressure as well. “It’s as if I’m in the presence of a treasured old friend,” she says. by Cassandra Davis | Jul 31, 2019 | Sustainability | 1 comment. Learn how your comment data is processed. As this article in the New York Times explains, palo santo is NOT endangered internationally. The less fragrant palo santo wood smells, the more likely it is that it was cut too early from an unripe palo santo tree. Suarez explains that there could be serious consequences for farmers if people stopped buying palo santo. Anyone who spends time on the ground in the arid subtropical coast ranges of southern Ecuador will quickly encounter an ecosystem under duress. But Palo Santo also grows in Ecuador, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Galapagos. Bursera graveolens – Sacred Wood Essence’s source. A conservation report raises concerns about the sustainability of this sacred wood. It has been saying that Palo Santo application is illegal because it is an endangered wood and the therapist uses come because we cut the live palo santo but, What is the reliable truth of this information? In America, it’s skyrocketed in popularity over the past decade. This tree species is highly valued for the long, straight, durable lumber it produces, as well as for the fragrant resin its wood contains, which is frequently used in the manufacture of soap and incense sticks. Thank you so much for posting truth on this subject. Land used for growing palo santo has more economic value than decimated land used for cattle ranching. Publication date: 01/10/2019. This tree species is highly valued for the long, straight, durable lumber it produces, as well as for the fragrant resin its wood contains, which is frequently used in the manufacture of soap and incense sticks. DoubleBlind presents: How to grow mushrooms online course. This forest type, known to ecologists as the Ecuadorian Dry Forest, has been severely damaged by centuries of deforestation, overgrazing, and erosion due to unsustainable farming practices, So, with so much confusing information out there, and so many critical problems in need of our attention and positive intentions, is the use of the. For instance, it’s an inherent part of these business models to take what’s needed and never deplete an area. Our work has empowered local people to improve their daily lives in meaningful ways in long-term cooperation with the land that nourishes and sustains them, Palo Santo Planting Project with SWE Founder. With deepest blessings and sincere gratitude. While the palo santo tree isn’t endangered, cattle ranching, corporations sourcing rubber, and development has decimated massive portions of the Tropical Dry Forest. Palo Santo Conservation Status In 2005, the government of Peru listed palo santo as critically endangered. Ecuadorian hands is also apart of this project. Fact: In June of 2014, the Bolívar Tello Community Association, from whom we source the Palo Santo for all of our Sacred Wood Essence products, was awarded the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Prize for their Palo Santo project’s outstanding effectiveness in reducing poverty through biodiversity conservation and sustainable business practices4. Fact: In the ten-plus years since we founded Sacred Wood Essence, we and our partners in the Manabi region of Ecuador have never cut down a single Palo Santo tree. Palo santo trees, according to Ayales, must fall naturally and spend at least four years (and up to a decade) on the ground before the internal sap solidifies and aromatic oils develop. It keeps them alive within their small economy.”. Palo Santo from sustainably harvested. Fact: In the ten-plus years since we founded Sacred Wood Essence, we have helped to plant over eighty thousand Palo Santo trees in the Manabi region of Ecuador. There are in fact, two different types of Palo Santo trees. The trees used for spiritual practices are a different verity and must never be cut down to for this use. Each fallen tree is replaced with a new seedling, and logging of the trees is strictly forbidden. In the name of supporting small or indigenous-owned farms—especially in a post-Covid-19 world—I argue yes. A few blog posts went viral claiming that the palo santo tree is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of endangered species. Both this tree species and the Bulnesia Sarmiento share the same name of … Concerned smudgers took to social media to alert the #witchesofinstagram and #healersoftwitter to essentially boycott the wood, purporting that there are only 250 trees left in the Gran Chaco region, and anyone who buys or sells palo santo is contributing to the extinction of the tree. It’s common to hear claims that Palo Santo use has caused the tree to be endangered. It’s a tale of mistaken identities—an archetypal story as old as either species of palo santo. The surrounding forests where, grows are heavily logged for firewood to fuel the smoke-drying industry of yerba mate tea and to clear space for cattle grazing, in the Gran Chaco is a serious ecological problem, as is the deforestation that is happening across South America and the world beyond, the production of Sacred Wood Essence Palo Santo smudge sticks and essential oil from, is actually contributing to reforestation and sustainable livelihoods in the arid hill-country of coastal Ecuador, . It’s a claim that is partially true, and needs some clarification. Palo Santo in medical terms is known as Bursera Graveolens that grows in abundance throughout South Americas – now coming to the question, whether it is endangered? Palo Santo is extremely rare, as it’s an endangered species, only fallen down trees can be harvested. One of these species, Bulnesia sarmientoi, is in danger due to over-harvesting. We understand and share your concern for the sustainability of our Mother Earth, for the need to respect and preserve her blessings, and for the need to honor the traditions of the cultures who have shared their wisdom with us. “To witness an ancient and sacred act is beautiful and necessary. Local farmers or indigenous families who’ve made palo santo farming their life typically uphold sustainable harvesting practices. Il est donc logiquement utilisé lors d’événements, de cérémonies, de fête… Let’s repeat that for emphasis: we have planted eighty thousand trees! Rumors have swirled on-and-off since 2005 about the endangerment of palo santo. Was this article helpful? About 15 years ago, [B. graveolens] was put on a watch list in Peru because it was impacted by the destruction of dry tropical forest, which is where palo santo grows. Infact buying palo santo can help this tree. For home use, palo santo essential oil should be derived from the Bursera graveolens tree, which is technically not endangered. Aside from this obvious environmental factor, it is unfruitful to use fresh live wood for aromatic purposes. A few factors are at play. In other words, buying wood from corporate chains worried more about a bottomline than the land, may potentially support a less than ethical supplier. This means that if they do not find clients for it, they will cut it down to use the land for corn, livestock, developments, etc. But when you dive into the details of the IUCN report that inspired the posts, you’ll discover that the tree referenced in the report is called Bulnesia sarmientoi—not Bursera graveolens, which is the palo santo we burn. But what’s concerning is the viral spread of misinformation. © 2020 DoubleBlind Magazine | Privacy Policy. One of these species, a mahogany-like tree known to botanists as Bulnesia sarmientoi, actually is threatened with over-exploitation … but not the one we sell (Bursera graveolens). According to an article published by The New York Times, Palo Santo is not endangered and is just a victim of mistaken identity. For decades, this spectacular landscape in southern Ecuador has been threatened by land clearing and unsustainable agricultural practices such as unregulated cattle grazing and biofuel crops. “In my experience, [natives] have expressed happiness that we enjoy it,” he says. Palo Santo is an endangered tree under government protection. No, but, you should probably reconsider how you are using it. Palo santo is indeed endangered, but that palo santo is the Bulnesia sarmientoi. Many of our customers have been told that supporting companies such as Sacred Wood Essence that import Palo Santo from South America may encourage deforestation in its source region. Mary Carreon is an award winning journalist from southern California and the associate editor at MERRY JANE. The Palo Santo tree is currently endangered and is on a watch-list. More scientific research needs to be done to understand why, but when it comes to Palo Santo, a cut tree is a bland tree. In conclusion, we would like to say thank you for supporting us for all these years on our heart-forward mission. Allegedly, there are companies that prematurely cut down trees and sell the wood. Each time we burn Palo Santo, we at Sacred Wood Essence first offer our intention to the land, the plants, the animals, and the people of Ecuador. Lately I have heard quite a few people inquire about Palo Santo and it's 'endangered' status. The truth is palo santo tree is endangered. Sadly, only 1% of this original forest type remains today. The only way to legally harvest palo santo is to take from a tree that’s naturally fallen over — and have a permit from the government to do so. Palo Santo is commonly used in sticks of from 4 to 6 inches long, and from 1/4 inch to 5/8’s of an inch thick. Palo santo isn't endangered, but its tropical dry forest habitat is threatened. Besides the obvious environmental factor, it is not advised to use fresh live wood for aromatic purposes. ENDANGERED: “The Future of Love” is a three-part mini-series that touches on each of the following topics in relation to our beloved botanical of Bursera graveolens, a.k.a. Palo santo is not endangered. , the threatened type of Palo Santo, grows in the Gran Chaco region of northern Argentina and southern Paraguay. Palo santo (Bursera graveolens), also known as “holy wood,” a sacred wood used for energetic clearing and healing in most indigenous and mestizo Latin American spiritual ceremonies, is arguably one of the more ethical products in wellness culture. According to the United Plant Savers Medicinal Plant Conservation, there are less than 250 mature adult trees in … The dramatic spike in demand has even spawned rumors about endangerment over the past year, causing stark confusion—panic, even—among consumers and practitioners. As a company whose business model is built around selling this aromatic wood, we at Sacred Wood Essence hope to earn your trust by providing you with facts. This famous tree is well-used in the Latin Americas, and its enriching aroma is also reaching the whole American continent. They say higher demands combined with ethical cultivation and harvesting practices could be good for B. graveolens and its—very sensitive—habitat. Bulnesia Sarmiento, the threatened type of Palo Santo, grows in the Gran Chaco region of northern Argentina and southern Paraguay. Another species, namely, Bulnesia … The "Palo Santo" (Bursera graveolens) used in aromatherapy and various spiritual practices is a tree that originates in the dry forests of Ecuador & Perú, and is a species known as " Bursera graveolens." This highly revered tree has been praised for its pleasant aromatic … / The Palo Santo Project The Tumbesian dry forest is home to numerous endemic species – or species found nowhere else on the planet – but is as endangered as the Amazon rainforest. It’s listed as “Least Concern” by the International Union for Conversation of Nature. It’s found in the Gran Chaco region, which extends from south-eastern Bolivia through western Paraguay and connects parts of Brazil to northern Argentina. In that time, they’ve also planted over 80,000 B. graveolens trees in the coastal Manabi region Ecuador. According to an IUCN conservation report published on March 1, 2019, B. graveolens is classified as a species “of least concern.” In other words, it’s not endangered on a global scale. Although palo santo has become very popular, the tree isn’t endangered. But the report from 2005 is outdated, though people sometimes still refer to it.”. Not only does our tree-planting program ensure an abundant future for th. There is a misconception that the Palo Santo that is used by energy practitioners is an endangered tree species. Bulnesia Sarmiento, the threatened type of Palo Santo, grows in the Gran Chaco region of northern Argentina and southern Paraguay. Palo Santo from sustainably harvested Bursera graveolens, such as what we at Sacred Wood Essence provide, is yellowish-tan, similar to pine, and sometimes streaked with darker shades of gray or brown. The Palo Santo also known as Bulnesia is a source of particular confusion, as the wood in question is aromatic and classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The tree is now endangered in Peru. Like anything else, knowing your source is key in making conscious purchases. Then the answer is No. This forest type, known to ecologists as the Ecuadorian Dry Forest, has been severely damaged by centuries of deforestation, overgrazing, and erosion due to unsustainable farming practices4. Ayales, who sources wood from an indigenous family in the Chiclayo region of Peru, warns that not every business in the space operates ethically. For many palo santo farmers, responsible stewardship of the land is an intrinsic part of harvesting. It is illegal to cut down or damage the living trees. While we at Sacred Wood Essence acknowledge and honor the good intentions of the people spreading this information—indeed, we share their desire for a more harmonious relationship with our Mother Earth—we would like to clear up some confusion on this issue and map out a way forward for sustainable production of this beneficial, delightful wood. We don’t use Palo Santo because it’s harmful to an endangered tree called the Palo Santo tree and the cultures that depend on it. Adriana Ayales, owner of Anima Mundi Apothecary in New York, is a rainforest herbalist from Costa Rica. This is likely due to the increasing popularity of ceremonies, from ayahuasca to sound baths, and the rise of spiritual tourism. According to Suarez, native holy wood farmers don’t have an issue with it, as holy wood is used in everyday life from repelling bugs to curating the energy of a room. The Palo Santo is commonly known as a native species of the dry-tropical forests of Ecuador. Not only does our tree-planting program ensure an abundant future for this delightful tree, but it also preserves and restores habitat for a host of critically endangered endemic plants and animals. threatened with over-exploitation … but not the one we sell (, Here’s an easy way to tell the two types of Palo Santo apart: Palo Santo from the threatened, tree is dark and reddish, akin to mahogany. That means Dogfish Head is making beer in barrels made from endangered wood. Fact: In the ten-plus years since we founded Sacred Wood Essence, we have employed many families who have received a direct economic incentive to preserve the forests that provide them with a livelihood. Endangered or Not. The two 10,000 gallon barrels used were allegedly made pre-prohibition. Maison Palo Santo sources our aromatic tree from a trusted supplier from Ecuador, where they harvest Bursera graveolens. “This is how many indigenous people survive, and it’s vital that we support the ones doing ethical work. The inhabitants of the surrounding communities live from the trade of Palo Santo. DoubleBlind's newest course: Using Psychedelics for Growth. Bulnesia Sarmiento – Endangered Palo Santo. Your email address will not be published. We can use it to avoid the bad vibes, clean a room, attract good luck and achieve a deeper connection in the meditation. We take a hard look at the facts, shine a light on a common misunderstanding, and show you how you can enjoy palo santo sustainably. These types of harvesting practices contribute to the environment, particularly reforestation of the Tropical Dry Forest, an extremely sensitive region the B. graveolens tree range passes through. Summer Rayne Oakes, a Brooklyn-based environmental scientist and author of the forthcoming book How to Make a Plant Love You and host of Plant One On Me, explains that while palo santo … In modern times, the wood is primarily used to build furniture, picture frames, and other home goods, making it a valuable export. According to a report from the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), indigenous cultures used B. sarmientoi for a number of reasons, from cooking utensils to burning the rose-scented wood in marriage ceremonies to extracting its oil. “The only reason Anima Mundi has cared to provide [palo santo] within our medicinal assortment is to ensure that we’re directly supporting an indigenous family and their ancient craft,” she says. Many of these small businesses also plant palo santo trees. Let's Shroom! Palo Santo endangered? The self-care and wellness industries have a dark shadow. It’s hard not to feel jaded when marketing tactics in the guise of spirituality and self-care become a cultural norm. Her relationship with palo santo is deep; the smell alone evokes a sense of safety and love. Palo Santo harvesting used to be strictly controlled by law in Peru – only trees that had fallen naturally were allowed to be harvested. 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