What is agarwood??
Agarwood is a marvellous but pathological phenomenon. Traded as agarwood, it is commonly referred to as ‘garu’ in Iban language. Engkaras a species of Aquilaria trees forms a reaction to fungal and/or bacterial attack and immune response. An inferior resin is created by the deliberate wounding of an Aquilaria tree; leaving it more susceptible to a fungal attack by using a forced method. Infected trees secrete a fragrant, protective oil into wounded areas (roots, branches or sections of the trunk), which gradually become harder and darker.
Aquilaria malaccencis, a species which is traded the most, can be found in Borneo. It is still harvested from the wild by the Penan and some Iban or other Dayak ethnics in Sarawak forest.
Tree inoculation (Kira ke ‘tuchuk’ mih dalam jaku Iban)
Nowadays, Agarwood or Gaharu is considered a “legacy tree” to the planters, because that single tree could potentially worth several thousands ringgits – if it is to be inoculated in a specific manner with the right vaccine to produce gaharuwood (garu) when the tree reaches 4 – 5 years old and above.
A method was developed to induce the production of gaharu in young plantation trees. The trees are wounded or inoculated in a specific manner and the gaharu production as the natural defence response is supported by applying specific treatments. This method can ensure the sustainable production of gaharu in plantation trees.