Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category

What is the News?

Red Sanders (Red Sandalwood) has again been listed in the ‘endangered’ category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.

What is Red Sanders?

Red SandersRed Sanders(Pterocarpus santalinus) is an Indian endemic tree species with a restricted geographical range in the Eastern Ghats. 

Conservation Status: 

IUCN Status: Endangered (Earlier Near Threatened)

CITES: Appendix II 

Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule II

Habitat: Red Sanders is found in thorny scrub/dry deciduous forests. It is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh. Some contiguous patches in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka also see some wild growth.

Uses: Red Sanders is known for its therapeutic properties and is in high demand for its cosmetic and medicinal properties. It is also used to make furniture and demand a high value in the international market. Its popularity can be judged from the fact that a tonne of Red Sanders costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.

Threats: Over the last three generations, Red Sanders has experienced a population decline of 50-80%. This is due to a) Illegal smuggling, b) Over Harvesting and Exploitation, c) Cattle grazing and d) Invasive Species.

About the export of Red Sanders

Red Sanders is banned from international trade. However, in 2010, when the CITES was planning to suspend trade of red sanders obtained from India, the government submitted a Non-Detriment Finding (NDF) report saying it must be allowed to export from cultivated sources.

So in 2012, India got an export quota on red sanders from CITES, under which the country could export 310 tonnes of red sanders obtained from “artificially propagated” sources (grown on farms) and 11,806 tonnes of wood from seized sources.

In 2019, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, an agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry had revised its export policy to permit the export of red sander timber, if it is obtained from cultivated land.

Source: This post is based on the article “Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category” published in Down To Earth on 11th January 2022.

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