Red Sanders falls back in IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) has recently categorised the Red Sanders (or Red Sandalwood) again into the ‘endangered’ category in its Red List.
- It was classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2018.
- Red sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus) is known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties
- It is very high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments.
- Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that a tonne of red sanders costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.
- It is an Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted geographical range in the Eastern Ghats.
- The species is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh.
- Red Sanders usually grow in the Red Soil and hot and dry climate.
Use of Red Sanders
- It is in high demand for furniture production, diabetes therapy, and inflammation reduction.
- Wood is also used to make red dye in India.
- Red sanders are said to be able to absorb radioactive radiation, however, this is unproven.
- However, its principal function is aesthetic and ornamental.
- It also produces Santaline dye, which is used to colour foods and pharmaceutical preparations, as well as extracts from the tree bark and wood, which have a variety of therapeutic qualities.
- Illicit felling for smuggling, forest fires, cattle grazing and other anthropogenic threats.
- Location: Andhra Pradesh is the major target for traffickers, particularly the Seshachalam hills and the Nalgonda woods.
- Agents recruit individuals from Tamil Nadu, particularly from regions like Tiruvannamalai and the tribal settlements of Javadhu Malai, to cut down these trees (Javadi Hills).
- IUCN Red List: Endangered.
- CITES: Appendix II
- Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule II