Friday, August 19, 2011

Santalum album Linn

Komang Surata
By Frans Sarong, executive summary by Darmansjah Gojdali

Sandalwood or "Santalum album Linn" is the kind of plants are semiparasit. Therefore, in its life cycle, sandalwood requires the host tree. Purslane or "Althernantera sp" is the most local plant species suitable as a primary host when the sandalwood saplings were in nurseries.

Use of purslane as a host of sandalwood which is now practiced in many places in the world is Komang Surata findings, lead researcher of Research Institute for Forestry Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara.

"I enjoyed being a researcher, but the joy was heightened when the results of my research is widely recognized and utilized up to the international world," said Komang Surata in Kupang, in the afternoon Thursday (25/11) it.

In the life cycle of sandalwood, from nursery to be harvested at age 30, requires three stages of a host of different tree species.

After purslane in the nursery, sandalwood growth requires a secondary host of species of trees or gala gala turi (Sebasnia grandiflora) or acacia (Acacia villosa) for the medium term. Furthermore, host johar (Casuarina junghunniana) is required for long-term assistance. Host tree is needed to help the absorption of nutrients from the soil.

"The use of host gala gala or turi actually my findings as well, but the monumental discovery of host purslane because now the top choice as a primary host in the cultivation of sandalwood internationally," said Komang Surata the researcher since 1987, two years after he finished college at Bogor Agricultural University (IPB).

Nearly extinct

Sandalwood is a tree species endemic to NTT. Therefore, a fragrant aroma, sandalwood has raised NTT region since the 4th century. In the 7th century, sandalwood from NTT reported to successfully penetrate the markets of India and China.
Start the 14th century, traders from both countries to visit directly to NTT to buy sandalwood and honey. Until the 1990s, sandalwood became the largest contributor to revenue of NTT.

However, the late 1990s, almost impossible to find a sandalwood tree in the forest. Left standing can only be found in the garden and yard of the population, it is also very rare. One of the main causes of the destruction of sandalwood in Timor and other islands in the NTT is the regulation that does not side with the community.

Since the days of the Dutch until Indonesia's independence, sandalwood, both of which grow in forests, in gardens, and yards of the population, claimed to belong to the government. Communities are required to maintain and care for sandalwood, but only the government has the right to use it. People who ignore that provision may be sanctioned. As a result, society as a carrier of sandalwood is considered disastrous.

Awareness of almost extinction of sandalwood to make the government change its policy with an umbrella Regional Regulation No. 2 / 1999 in favor to the community.

NTT Governor Frans Lebu Kingdom since the beginning of his leadership in 2008 launched the cultivation of sandalwood in order to restore the NTT as a "province of sandalwood". Determination was at once raised the name of purslane because it takes as a host at the nursery seedlings of sandalwood.

Previously, using the host plant nursery sandalwood pepper (Capsicum annum), as recommended researchers IPB, Jufriansah, in the 1970s.

Since serving in the Forestry Research Institute of Kupang, Komang Surata noted a number of weaknesses pepper tree as the primary host of sandalwood. Among other things, chili pepper tree is difficult to live when moved from place to grow initially. Another drawback, it is difficult to get chili seeds in large quantities, threatened to death if pruned tree canopies, and unable to survive among the other grasses.

Surata then took the initiative to conduct research since 1988. It performs various tests in order to obtain a replacement primary host. Two years later he found purslane as a primary substitute host chili plants.

"The trial involved 18 species of plants as potential hosts, including chili. The end result showed that purslane is best suited as a primary host, "he said.

Excellence purslane

Purslane has a number of advantages. According Surata, purslane is very helpful during the growth of sandalwood seedlings. Purslane also pose no competition, a small editorial, succulent root system or software, easy to grow after the cut, long-lived, relatively easy to obtain, and survival in drought.

Host purslane findings were published in international scientific journals, Sandalwood Newsletter, in Australia in 1992. After publication, the use of purslane as a primary host sandalwood expanding internationally, including in Australia's western Pacific as well as in some countries, like Fiji, New Caledonia, Solomon, and Vanuatu.                                                                                                                                                

Now, Surata is to pursue models of sandalwood cultivation through regeneration of shoots, which cut a few roots network around the foot of mature sandalwood trees. If cutting is done correctly and on time, ie by paying attention to the development of roots followed by micro-climate regulation, the roots are cut off from its parent will sprout as new seedlings.

"Our dream forward in the cultivation of sandalwood in NTT is a sandalwood tree saplings sprout roots nature of his own, before the parent tree cut down after reaching the age of 30 years of harvest. The regeneration of sandalwood seedlings can be done in varied following the harvest cycle, "said Surata, scientists from the Karangasem, Bali, is.

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