Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 91, Issue 6, pp 1157–1164 | Cite as

Heartwood assessment of natural Santalum album populations for agroforestry development in Sri Lanka

  • S. M. C. U. P. Subasinghe
  • S. C. Samarasekara
  • K. P. Millaniyage
  • D. S. Hettiarachchi


Sandalwood (Santalum album) is developing as an important agroforestry crop in Sri Lanka. The value of S. album depends upon the oil content in the heartwood and its composition with reference to sesquiterpene alcohols cis-α-santalol and cis-β-santalol. According to the popular belief in Sri Lanka, certain S. album trees do not produce oil even after maturity. Therefore the present study was conducted to identify the presence and the variation of essential oil, its composition and the variation of growth parameters of nine distinctive S. album populations growing under different agroecological zones in Sri Lanka. According to the results, heartwood content, oil content and its constituents varied within and between the populations. It was interesting to observe that cis-α-santalol and cis-β-santalol were not detected in certain S. album trees though the oil contents of those trees were higher than the average. Heartwood content of the trees did not show a correlation with oil content, dbh and height. However, the oil content was significantly correlated with tree dbh and height. Majority of the trees (62 %) had heartwood essential oil in compliance to ISO standards; only a 31 % of the total sampled trees had the essential oil content above 2 % (w/w). Dry mountainous Badulla district had the highest percentage of trees complying the ISO standards. These findings are vital for identifying suitable sources for agroforestry propagation of S. album.


Sandalwood Santalum album Sri Lanka Alpha and beta santalol 



This research is a part of a project supported by the National Research Council of Sri Lanka (Grant Number NRC 11-176). Authors are grateful to the Ayurvedic practitioners Dr. (Mrs.) G.M.M.K Gunawardena of Monaragala and Dr. T.M. Kapuru Banda of Maho for sharing the knowledge on sandalwood based on Ayurveda compendium. Authors also acknowledge Mr. S.V. Gunasekara of Kurunegala, Mr. R.M Piyadasa of Hambantota, Mr. D.V. Silva and Mr. R.A. Samarasekara of Badualla for providing sample trees and sharing the traditional knowledge on sourcing sandalwood.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. M. C. U. P. Subasinghe
    • 1
  • S. C. Samarasekara
    • 1
  • K. P. Millaniyage
    • 1
  • D. S. Hettiarachchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Environmental ScienceUniversity of Sri JayewardenepuraNugegodaSri Lanka
  2. 2.Wescorp SandalwoodWescorp GroupCanning ValeAustralia

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