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Impacts of Unsustainable Harvesting of Frankincense Producing Boswellia Trees Public Deposited

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  • The use of Boswellia tree’s fragrant resin, known as frankincense has been used in religious rituals and medicines for thousands of years. Those same uses have only increased in popularity throughout the world, and have made their way into western culture, where frankincense is a main ingredient in many skin care, cosmetic and medicinal products. The resin that only Boswellia trees produce make frankincense an important non-timber forest product. Additionally, frankincense producing trees have a limited growing range in high altitudes, with specific growing conditions in the arid regions of the Middle East. These factors make the survival of the frankincense tree, all that more vital. Worldwide increases in demand for frankincense has put strain on the few known Boswellia species that produce the highly sought-after resin. The harvesting practices of tapping the tree to let the wound response resin seep out, is proving to also be hindering the tree’s ability to reproduce, and maintain population numbers. Harvesters are pressured to tap the tree beyond its capable limits in order to get the most resin they can to sell. Boswellia trees are on the decline, and possibly face extinction if sustainable management practices are not explored and enforced. Conservation and restoration management practices, along with sustainable harvesting techniques are suggested as a means of protecting frankincense producing Boswellia for the livelihoods of the people who depend on the tree as well as for future generations.
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