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Saint Lucians pioneer sustainable new method for tapping lansan trees

[Press Release]  A new short film, released today Wednesday March 21st, shows how lansan tappers are helping to create a brighter future for our forests by using a new environmentally friendly tapping method – designed right here in Saint Lucia – this allows them to collect more resin without damaging these precious trees.

The aroma of lansan is familiar to most people in Saint Lucia; however, what many people don’t know is that the popularity of this fragrance is threatening an entire species with extinction. Lansan incense is made from the resin of the lansan tree, which traditionally has been collected by making deep cuts in the tree bark and scraping away the resin that comes to the surface. Unfortunately, this practice damages the tree, causing it to become infected and rotten. In many cases the tree will die within a year.

The good news is that a clever new method has been developed that is not only safe for the trees but also allows tappers to collect twice as much resin.

The new technique was developed following a two-year study by the Saint Lucia Forestry Department and conservation NGO Fauna & Flora International. After testing more than a dozen techniques, they successfully found an approach that produces more resin without harming the trees. With support from Sandals Foundation, both organisations have since been working in partnership to introduce the new method to Saint Lucia lansan tappers.

To apply the new and approved method, tappers must first be trained and then licensed by the Forestry Department.

Forestry Department staff have so far coached more than 20 people and permitted them to use the technique in approved areas, and – with generous support from the Sandals Foundation – the project team is scaling up to train more tappers and encourage the public to buy incense that is certified as sustainable.

For more information please contact Karl Augustin at 716-1247 or 720-3082.

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