Conserving and managing WA’s wild sandalwood

Sandalwood. Photo credit: Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

Western Australia’s native sandalwood (Santalum spicatum), which grows wild in the Wheatbelt and rangelands, is ecologically important and highly valued for the perfumed sandalwood oil it yields.

While this aromatic, hemi parasitic shrub still broadly occurs across the rangelands and deserts, population condition varies due to cumulative impacts associated with pest and feral species, lawful and unlawful take, grazing, altered fire regimes and climate change.

In the Wheatbelt, extensive agricultural clearing has reduced wild sandalwood occurrence to fragmented populations within conservation reserves and remnant native vegetation on private property.

To protect and sustain this remarkable species for generations to come, the first Santalum spicatum (Sandalwood) Biodiversity Management Programme will set out how WA’s wild sandalwood will be conserved, protected and managed.

It will outline processes for its ecologically sustainable use now and into the future, consistent with the requirements of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The Sandalwood BMP will apply to the management of wild sandalwood on both Crown and private lands across Western Australia and will not apply to plantation sandalwood.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) invites traditional owners, industry and community stakeholders to provide comment to help inform the final version.

The draft Sandalwood BMP is open for public comment until 9 December 2022 through this link.