Gahuru Buaya Genus
The Gaharu buaya is an agarwood tree which has a very light smell although a cheaper commodity from the agarwood species. The cheaper produce is widespread as compared to real gaharu and this has caused high demand for the product (Traffic Oceana, World wide Fund for nature & Papua guinea pi
g, 2001). Additionally, its natural colors usually range from light to dark brown, which solemnly depends on the quality of the tree, therefore easy to distinguish the two. On the other hand, oil produced from this species is usually thick and smooth especially when rubbed on an object hence mostly preferred
Gaharu buaya is often a monotypic species obtained from the Aetoxylon genus, often referred to as crocodile gaharu which means Cheap or fake gaharu. Although the agarwood can grow anywhere, its major habitat is in the lowland forests at 100 meters altitude, where it can grow up to 40cm tall and its buck can grow to 60cm wide. The Garahu Buaya tree is frequently found in Kerangas, West Sarawak while its natural distribution extends to Kalimatan. This wood is often termed as more profitable as compared to real gaharu because it easily accessible although its quality is slightly lower compared to Garahu.
Another identifies species of the gaharu buaya genus is phaleria microcarpa. This species was observed in the Borneo Island in Indonesia, and Malaysia as well where it can grow up to 1200 meters above the sea level. It is characterized by its ever green leaves which can extend from 2.8- 3.9 inches. Its flowers grow tend to change its color from green to maroon as it matures while its fruits tend eclipse shaped, green when unripe and red when ripe. The plant can be used in both processed and unprocessed form although the latter is said to be toxic and poisonous.
Originally, the plant was used as a traditional medicine. Currently, the plant has been used medically as an antibiotic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and as an anti-bacterial. Research has it that the plant stem can be used to cure bone cancer, and its seeds to cure breast and cervix cancer as well as lung, liver and heart diseases. On the other hand, its leaves have been used medically to treat allergies, tumors, diabetes and impotence. Basically, the plant is produced for medical properties.
The Gaharu fragrance is a very unique and fascinating. Its Resin content is often tested by lighting up a piece of its wood and smelling the smoke while observing how bubbly the resin is when it’s burning. After this, the test is carried out in order to identify high-quality garahu and low-quality Gaharu through a water test, where wood from the wood is placed in water. Low quality product will tend to float while the high quality will tend to sink due to high resin content in them. Once dried, they are further grouped with regard to their color. A high quality gaharu will tend to be black or brownish in color while the low quality gaharu will appear to be whitish which causes traders to discolor that using coffee beans.
Trading of Gaharu Buaya
The Garahu Buaya trade has been on the rise over the years. The quality of this particular commodity is facilitated by the fact that its Oudh produce is readily available and in large quantities. Also, The Garahu Buaya trade has been on the rise since its incense is of lower quality and cheaper as compared to that of Gaharu. Moreover, the scent which is from this wood has a quite an unpleasant smell which would make one feel like throwing up, and for this reason, traders have come up with ideas of mixing it with the Aquilaria family species in order to cumber this limitation and meet the rising demand. Oil produced from this species is mostly exported to India where it goes under further mixture for a refined touch and is later exported to Europe and the United States.
Challenges arising in the gaharu trade is the existence of fake traders who pose a strong competition in this market. This has been as a result of the fact that the gaharu species is naturally complex and easily concealed therefore difficult to regulate. Another challenge experienced is that of the degree of coordination in existence. This means that the industry has over the years employed poor individuals in biotechnology expertise thus inefficient in their field (Caldecott & Janzen, 2009). The absence of standard grading rules in species identification procedure is also another major challenge in this industry. Due to its great fragrance, gaharu poaching has become another major challenge and has affected gaharu traders negatively.