Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
THE SANDAL-TREE is found in the comparatively dry regions of peninsular India, especially in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The tree flourishes in cool regions with moderate annual rainfall of about 60-160 cm.
The most important sandal-producing districts in Karnataka are Dharwar, Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Tumkur, Hassan, Mercara, Mysore, Bangalore and scattered areas in Kolar. In Tamil Nadu, the tree is found chiefly in the districts of Coimbatore, Nilgiri, Salem and Vellore and to a lesser extent in Tirunelveli and Tiruchchirappalli. In Kerala, sandal is apparently wild and found both on the hills and in the low country.
The scented heartwood is the most valuable portion of the sandal-tree. The heartwood starts forming rapidly in about 20-year-old trees and is at its prime when the trees are 30-60 years old. The sandal-tree is harvested by uprooting, not cutting. This is done to ensure that no part of the root system, which is the richest in oil content, escapes collection. Billets of well-grown straight wood can give more than 85 per cent of good wood, while small, ill-developed, branchy tress yield as little as 25 per cent.
The tree seems to be indigenous to peninsular India. There are references to the sandal-tree in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. There is evidence to show that the tree has been grown in India for the last 23 centuries and that India has been a major, if not the only, source of sandalwood in the world.