El Palo Rosa (Aniba rosaeodora), an Amazonian forest species currently on the brink of extinction, begins to be recovered by a passionate Peruvian jungle researcher, plant intelligence researcher Enrique Lorente Pastor, who devotes every minute of her time to germinate and care for each tree planted, with admirable dedication and patience, typical of men who have understood the enormous value of nature. On his farm, located on the road Iquitos – Nauta Km 39.7, has managed to plant 1200 specimens of this wonderful tree, with the vision of having a natural seedbed, that serves to continue propagating this species and ensure total recovery and shovel conservation for generations to come.
For almost a century, the felling of rosewood trees was so intense and irrational that it brought it to the point of its total disappearance. Rosewood appears on the list of species threatened by the Convention on International Trade in Flora and Fauna (CITES), to reduce their logging due to the trafficking of exotic woods. The main threat of this tree lies in its felling for the extraction of oil, which contains large concentrations of lináloe and has been widely used in the preparation of perfumes and soaps.
"The Chanel No 5 contained rosewood, but it hasn't been included for a few years," says perfumer Olivier Paget, from Mane, a fragrance-producing company. Since 1990, he no longer included that oil in his formulas and did not even have it available.
The commercial exploitation of rosewood, in Loreto, reached its boom in the 50s, its massive and unsustainable use reduced the reserves of the species to critical levels. The main distilleries operating in Iquitos were the Peruvian Astoria Company, Amazong Trandig Co. And the Lorean Company of Essential Oils.
In 1952, 13 metric tons (tm.) of oil were exported, with an export of 157.8 tonnes already reached 195.8 tonnes in 1955. (With a value of S/. 21'290 277), in 1958 the highest export by volume (261.5 tm was achieved. with an S/. 20'458 557) and 163.8 tons were exported in 1962. (with a value of S/. 18'303 161). In 1955, rosewood oil exported 26% of the value.
As can be seen, a single species represented large economic revenues for our region, incredibly higher than those currently obtained with the total forest exports, with the aggravation of being illegally extracted, which according to data Osinfor exceed 95%.
"We are regressing economically and losing the battle against illegal logging, deforestation and timber bleaching," Enrique says.
Rosewood can be used from the third year, distilling the branches and leaves. Taking advantage of a material that was previously discarded. In addition, tree oil aged 4, 10 and 15 years was chemically equivalent to distilled bark oil.
Taking advantage of only the branches and leaves, rather than completely destroying the tree, is an environmentally friendly practice, as it allows to considerably decrease the felling of trees in the forest, expand the plantations and incentivize their as a source of economic income for many Loretan families.
Enrique Lorente, says that the possible restart of Palo Rosa production in a few years, and reactivate the interest of the big perfume brands, which stopped including that component in their products due to irregular supply or consumer pressures, who showed concern about the possible extinction of this valuable tree of the Peruvian Amazon.
We must bet its cultivation, not on extraction, it is our obligation to recover and preserve this species, considered worldwide the GREEN GOLD OF AMAZONIA. Loreto Si Produces.
Writes: Ernesto Saavedra
Photo: Tania Saavedra