In Malaysia, there is still enough wild aquilaria for its harvesting not to be banned. Under CITES, a quota of 200,000kg a year can be exported.
Mayam is an Orang Asli, one of the indigenous people of Malaysia. He makes his living from harvesting what the forest provides. Key among those provisions these days is oud, known here as gaharu.
Officially, the Orang Asli are only allowed to harvest oud for their own use, but some also sell it on.
Oud in the wild
Mayam found eight agarwood-producing trees that he is harvesting slowly, piece by piece, without felling them, but they are very far away from each other.
He is not only concerned about others finding out about his trees, but also about the future of wild agarwood trees which are on the brink of extinction.
"If the Cambodians, Vietnamese, Thais, Filipinos stop coming into the Malaysian forest, the gaharu tree will have a bright future. But they simply chop down all the trees, regardless of size in order to get the contents. All the old and young trees are gone."
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