Tag Archives: Tamshiyacu

Miguel, Celestina and Rosewood Trees in Tamshiyacu – November 8, 2015

Juan harvesting rosewood branch

Juan Silvano harvesting rosewood leaves from Miguel’s tree. Photo by Campbell Plowden/CACE

One highlight of my recent trip to Peru was spending a day with Miguel and Celestina – a couple who live in Tamshiyacu, a small town that is about an hour and a half by Iquitos by speed boat.  I first toured their farm a year ago with our local contact Juan who introduced us to a few families that had planted rosewood trees in a community development project around 2003.

 

They warmly greeted us in their home filled with their children, grandchildren and dogs.  Other families in the area had either sold their land or sold the rights to their rosewood trees to a new company making essential oil.  I was pleased that this senior citizen couple wanted to work with us to manage the rosewood trees they had left on their property.

Motorcar from Tamshiyacu

Motorcar from Tamshiyacu. Photo by Campbell Plowden/CACE

Heading out with machete and large collecting basket, our project manager Yully, Celestina and I sat in the back seat of a motorcar while Miguel and CACE videographer Tulio perched in the luggage rack in back.  We soon got beyond the paved road in town and traveled for miles on dirt roads that were rutted but solid since the “dry” season rains were not intense.   Twenty minutes out, we passed by some rough wooden buildings with tarp roofs in a clearing made by roughly hacking down a section of rainforest.  The government was creating these new settlements by giving land rights to poor families seeking a place to farm.

 

Miguel squeezing sugar cane

Miguel squeezing sugar cane with wooden press.  Photo by Campbell Plowden/CACE

The motorcar dropped us off at a tiny trail entering the woods on the other side of the road and promised to pick us up at the end of the day if we could reach him on his cell phone.  After a half-hour hike, we reached Miguel and Celestina’s plot that they had legally acquired over twenty years ago.  They had planted yucca (also known as cassava and manioc) as their main staple food.  Pineapples, umari fruit, and Brazil nuts were their main commercial crops.  Sugar cane provided snack food. They hoped that selling rosewood material could increase their modest income.

 

Miguel attaching tag to rosewood tree

Miguel tagging rosewood tree on his property. Photo by Campbell Plowden/CACE

We got to work tagging and measuring all of the rosewood trees that were still alive a dozen years after the donated seedlings were transplanted into their field.  Some were vigorous tall trees that seemed good to maintain as a source of seeds in the future.  Many had grown to 30 feet tall and seemed good candidates to be pruned to provide branches and leaves for distilling.  A few were still no bigger than seedlings that might grow if exposed to more light.

 

Tulio measuring rosewood tree diameter

Tulio measuring rosewood tree diameter. Photo by Campbell Plowden/CACE

After four hours of hot hard work, we gathered under their rustic shelter built to protect bags of charcoal they were soon going to sell.  Miguel then cut up and gave each of us a whole pineapple to savor – the freshest and sweetest I had ever had in my life.

We promised to return soon to do our first modest harvest to make a small batch of rosewood oil. We will need to undertake this task carefully, though, since many of the trees have grown very large and will need to be pruned carefully to keep them healthy and produce good material for distilling in the future.

CP Yully Miguel Celestina at Tamshiyacu

Miguel, Celestina, Yully Rojas and Campbell Plowden. Photo by Tulio Davila/CACE

In addition to helping this couple in the coming years, we hope to learn a lot about rosewood tree growth and management that we can apply to our rosewood project at Brillo Nuevo being developed with our partner Camino Verde.  Those trees are now almost three years old, and we expect to conduct our first experimental harvest in early 2016.

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The rosewood project in Peru – Part 1: Progress in Brillo Nuevo

By Campbell Plowden

Putting rosewood leaves in bag at Brillo Nuevo. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Putting rosewood leaves in bag at Brillo Nuevo. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

The CACE rosewood project began in the summer of 2012 when we collected and distilled some leaves from one rosewood tree near Brillo Nuevo in the Ampiyacu River region. It was the lone survivor of a few seedlings that Oscar López Flores’ father had brought with him from the Algodón River farther north almost 70 years. Oscar remembers growing up with these aromatic trees in front of his home that had long since been left to return to forest.

Bora man separating rosewood oil from distillate water. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Bora man separating rosewood oil from distillate water. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

The oil that we extracted from this tree had a wonderful aroma, but we would clearly need more than one tree to create a community enterprise that would make and sell rosewood oil. Read full story about Oscar’s rosewood tree.

Juan Silvano with young rosewood tree. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Juan Silvano with young rosewood tree. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

We got a look at what such a project might look when we visited shaman Juan Silvano and saw some of the thousand plus rosewood trees that he had planted near his eco-lodge on the outskirts of Tamshiyacu. While most of his fellow rosewood planters had stopped pruning their trees many years ago when government support for the project evaporated, Juan still hoped that he would be able to find a good partner to make essential oil from his rosewood trees and other medicinal plants. Read full story about rosewood and ayuhuasca at Juan’s center.

Rosewood seedlings and scions at Jenaro Herrera. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Rosewood seedlings and scions at Jenaro Herrera. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

With encouragement and funding from the Marjorie Grant Whiting Center, we combined forces with the NGO Camino Verde and contracted the Institute for Investigations of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP) to use rosewood cuttings and seeds from rosewood acquired from the Tamshiyacu River region to produce 1000 seedlings to plant at Brillo Nuevo. See full story about rosewood seedlings at IIAP nursery.

Robin van Loon from Camino Verde, Yully Rojas from CACE and Bora family who planted rosewood seedlings in their forest field. Photo by Italo Melendez/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Robin van Loon from Camino Verde, Yully Rojas from CACE and Bora family who planted rosewood seedlings in their forest field. Photo by Italo Melendez/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

By February of this year, the nursery had produced 900 good seedlings that were taken by truck, ferry, speedboat, motor canoes and backpacks from Jenaro Herrera to fields around Brillo Nuevo. Robin van Loon from Camino Verde then worked with four families (chosen by lottery) to plant 225 seedlings in a half-hectare plot of each family.See more photos about rosewood planting at Brillo Nuevo.

Luke Plowden and Bora man measuring rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Luke Plowden and Bora man measuring rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

This summer we organized a team of young Bora men to check on the status of the rosewood seedlings in the four plots around Brillo Nuevo. Half of the team including CACE volunteer Luke Plowden first counted the number of rosewood seedlings that were still alive. They then recorded the height, width, number of leaves and general condition of twenty seedlings selected at random in each area.

Measuring soil humidity near rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Measuring soil humidity near rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

The team also used a battery-powered probe to record the soil moisture near these sample plants. While we had heard complaints that some plants had been stolen and saw that a few had withered to leafless stems, it was good to find that at least 90% of the plants were alive in each plot and most were in very good shape.

Bora men photographing insect at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Bora men photographing insect at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

While one crew was taking these measurements, four other fellows used digital cameras to take pictures of the measurers and sundry critter and plants in the field. This was our first photography workshop designed to help the Bora document their activities and nature in the forest, field and around their own homes. See photos of insects and frog in the field.

Red lip plant with water at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Red lip plant with water at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

On the next day of the monitoring, we reversed the roles so the photographers learned to use the measuring tape, GPS and humidity gauge while the first group got lessons and practice using the cameras. We gathered in the evening to review the day’s images with the group when we had reliable power and functioning computers.

it Moore and Bora man drawing chambira palm at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

it Moore and Bora man drawing chambira palm at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Our Amazon Field Volunteer Amrit Moore was beginning another kind of documentation on the first day of the rosewood monitoring. She sat on a log and drew colored sketches of chambira palm trees – the most important plant for making crafts in the region since fibers are pulled from its leaves to weave into almost every handicraft.

Felix Flores sketch of chambira palm. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Felix Flores sketch of chambira palm. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology


Amrit was joined by Bora woodsman Felix Flores Vega who showed that he had good potential to develop as much skill with a colored pencil as he already had with a machete. Amrit is now working to make illustrations for all of the major Ampiyacu craft plants for a resource manual to be shared with all of the artisans in the region

Go to: The rosewood project in Peru – Part 2: Rosewood in the Ucayali

To learn more about or support this project, please visit http://www.AmazonAlive.net or http://www.AmazonEcology.org.

Campbell Plowden measuring rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Campbell Plowden measuring rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Yully Rojas doing training Bora men to use GPS. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Yully Rojas doing training Bora men to use GPS. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Bora man measuring rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Bora man measuring rosewood seedling at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Yully Rojas and Bora team recording rosewood seedling growth. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Yully Rojas and Bora team recording rosewood seedling growth. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Amrit Moore drawing chambira palm tree. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Amrit Moore drawing chambira palm tree. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Luke Plowden in field with rosewood seedlings at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Luke Plowden in field with rosewood seedlings at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Luke Plowden and Amrit Moore on canoe at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Luke Plowden and Amrit Moore on canoe at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Rosewood reforestation and essential oil for Brillo Nuevo

By Campbell Plowden

For the past three years, the Center for Amazon Community Ecology has been working with the Bora native community of Brillo Nuevo to measure the abundance of copal trees in their forests and evaluate the quantity and quality of aromatic essential oil that could be produced from its sustainably harvested resin. We are now also exploring the rosewood tree (Aniba roseaodora) and a few of its relatives as new sources for community production of fragrant oils.

Rosewood grows in wild in Brazil and almost every other country in the Amazon region. It has been used for centuries as a source of oil for perfumes and wood for making fine furniture. Unfortunately the whole tree was routinely harvested to make these products. Severe rosewood exploitation led to concerns about its possible extinction and eventual restrictions on international trade in the species through Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). The Brazilian government also passed national legislation to protect the species domestically. CACE is now developing a project to produce a sustainable supply of rosewood oil by distilling its leaves and small branches and planting a new generation of rosewood trees in secondary forests at Brillo Nuevo.

Rosewood tree near Ancon Colonia. © Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Rosewood tree near Ancon Colonia. © Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology


We had never encountered rosewood in any of our forest surveys around Brillo Nuevo, but our former local coordinator Oscar told us in late June that he could lead us to one “palo de rosa” tree where we collect enough material to distill a test batch of oil. Oscar’s parents brought several rosewood seedlings with them when they moved from the Rio Algodon to the Ampiyacu River region around 1945. One of the trees they planted in front of their house survived and filled the air with a memorable pleasant aroma. When Oscar and his family moved from Ancon Colonia to the larger village of Brillo Nuevo so his children could attend school, it was understood he retained rights to the tall rosewood at the old site.

Putting rosewood leaves in bag at Brillo Nuevo. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Putting rosewood leaves in bag at Brillo Nuevo. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Our five-person team piled into Oscar’s “peque-peque” (motorized wooden canoe) and headed an hour up the Yaguasyacu River to a small clearing just past past Ancon Colonia. We hiked through the forest and crossed slippery log bridges for about 20 minutes until Oscar found his old homestead and the sixty-five year old legacy rosewood tree. After two failed attempts to climb the tree itself, one team member scooted up a neighboring tree with our claw-like climbing spikes and snipped off seven one-inch thick branches with a pruning saw attached to a long aluminum pole. We weighed the leaves that drifted down to ensure we had at least five kilograms for our first trial. Later that afternoon we got a bag of leaves from a few species of copal and “moena” trees – relatives of the rosewood for other distillation tests.

Distilling rosewood leaves with alembique pot. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Distilling rosewood leaves with alembique pot. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

The next day our task was to extract as much oil from rosewood and other kinds of leaves we had collected. We set up our copper alembique pot and other parts of our distillation apparatus in the open kitchen area of the school. We shredded rosewood leaves and finely chopped the branches, stuffed them into the top of the vessel, filled it with water, and sealed the onion dome with caulking. After burning the plastic face off the thermometer in our first trial using firewood (instead of a gas stove), we shielded the lower part of the still with a few pieces of “calamina” (corruguated aluminum used for roofing).

Bora man separating rosewood oil from distillate water. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Bora man separating rosewood oil from distillate water. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

An hour after the fire resumed, an amber-colored oil starting dripping into the separatory flask. We measured the weight of oil that came out every half-hour until the process ran its course in four hours. The amount was less than hoped for, but it had an exquisite aroma. It was not hard to see why rosewood oil has been a classic scent for millennia. A specialty fragrance company President in Los Angeles later confirmed that we had distilled a promising product. This was a good step forward, but we knew that we couldn’t produce enough oil from one lone rosewood tree to establish a community enterprise. We could, however, plant some more to expand our supply of raw material for making oil and assist the recovery of a valuable endangered Amazon tree.

Campbell Plowden and Robin van Loon at Camino Verde reforestation site on the Tambopata River. © Photo by Ursula Leyva Carbone/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Campbell Plowden and Robin van Loon at Camino Verde reforestation site on the Tambopata River. © Photo by Ursula Leyva Carbone/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

The Marjorie Grant Whiting Center had given CACE two grants to support our Ampiyacu project and also funded an NGO called Camino Verde that did reforestation projects and documented traditional plant uses in the southern Peruvian Amazon. MGWC introduced Robin van Loon, its Executive Director to us and then funded a CACE/Camino Verde pilot project to sustainably harvest and develop several non-timber forest products in both of our areas. A key element of this joint project involves planting about 1000 rosewood seedlings at Brillo Nuevo. To start this process, we commissioned the Institute for Investigations of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP) to produce the seedlings in their nursery at their research station in Jenaro Herrera – the same site as our long-term copal research.

Rosewood seedlings and scions at Jenaro Herrera.  © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Rosewood seedlings and scions at Jenaro Herrera. © Photos by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

During my visit to this station in early July, the manager showed me the seedlings that would hopefully become the founders of a rosewood population in the Ampiyacu. They began by laying cuttings from a few small trees onto a planting bed that would be transferred to individual planting bags once they had a good root. We expect these will be large enough by late January for Robin van Loon, the Executive Director of Camino Verde to bring them to Brillo Nuevo for planting. The community had enthusiastically approved this project and chose five families by lots to plant and care for about 200 young rosewood trees in fertile “purma” – a patch of secondary forest in the fallow phase of a slash and burn growing cycle. We expect these trees will grow enough in three to four years to sustain a modest harvest of leaves that can be distilled into marketable rosewood oil.

When I learned that a group of campesinos at Tamshiyacu had already planted several thousand rosewood trees and had experimented distilling some oil from their leaves, Yully Rojas (our Ampiyacu Project Manager) and I took the one hour “rapido” (fast motorboat) there with hopes of finding someone who could tell us about this operation.

Double-snake design on Shipiba fabric. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Double-snake design on Shipiba fabric. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

We eventually found our way to the house of Sr. Juan Silvano who shared the story of his group’s venture with rosewood that began about ten years ago. Tamshiyacu was known as a place where this aromatic tree had once thrived and been a center for rosewood exploitation and oil production. With encouragement and some technical assistance from IIAP, ten residents formed a group that collected and germinated seeds from a few remnant trees and planted about 7,000 seedlings in their properties. In meantime they collected enough leaves from some older trees to produce one liter of oil. They gave this batch to IIAP and the university to analyze, but never got any results. Juan then invited us to visit the area where he had planted most of his rosewood seedlings, some food crops and built a bunkhouse and lodge to host ayuhuasca ceremonies. He also carved hunks of tawari and palo sangre wood into jaguars, snakes, eagles, and abstract human figures inspired by shamanic visions for sale to his clients and other tourists.

Juan Silvano with young rosewood tree at Tamshiyacu. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

Juan Silvano with young rosewood tree at Tamshiyacu. © Photo by Campbell Plowden/Center for Amazon Community Ecology

We paused to chat around a few of the rosewood saplings he had planted in 2003. The ones planted in open sun had grown very well. He had pruned them according to IIAP recommendations for several years so they wouldn’t grow taller than four meters – a nice height to keep the top leaves and branches within easy reach for harvesting. IIAP dropped its support for the project for some years and then renewed it temporarily in 2008 when it surveyed the abundance of seed trees and condition of the five-year old seedlings in the fields of the group members that hadn’t abandoned the project. The group renewed the registration of its group (the Tamshiyacu Campesino Association of Amazon Aromas) with the regional government, but they let this expire again when the government failed to offer any concrete way for them to make or sell any rosewood oil.

The group’s most recent hope to use this resource came two years ago when a French woman came to the area to make fragrant essential oils with a high capacity distillation apparatus. She had bought batches of 300 kg. of leaves and branches from the five remaining active members of the association for a year, but their collaboration fell apart when they failed to reach an agreement on payment terms. After this venture failed, even Juan stopped maintaining his young rosewood trees and top branches now exceeded six meters. He could still start to manage them again, but he is content to let them grow into large trees if he can’t profitably harvest the leaves to make oil.

Yully and I left Tamshiyacu knowing that Juan would be a valuable advisor for our rosewood oil project at Brillo Nuevo so we are now exploring ways to work with him and his group to get a hard start on learning the finer points of distilling rosewood leaves and find the best ways to market its oil.

For full versions of the stories in this article please see these other posts in Campbell’s Amazon Journal:
The Legacy of a Rosewood Tree (Brillo Nuevo)
Steaming Leaves and Heated Emotions (Brillo Nuevo)
A Dying Copal Tree and Rosewood Seedlings at Jenaro Herrera
Visions of Rosewood Oil and Ayahuasca (Tamshiyacu)

Visions of Rosewood Oil and Ayahuasca

July 20, 2012

After my presentation to the Grand Valley University students at the Rainforest Conservation Fund lodge near Chino, one of their Peruvian field assistants gave me a golden tip – the name and phone number of a fellow from Tamshiyacu whose group had produced some oil from “palo de rosa” rosewood. We couldn’t get anyone at this number for a couple of days so Yully and I decided to take a rapido there and see if we could find Weninger Vasquez or someone else who could tell us about this operation.

Elbita Tangoa Pinedo with maraca. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Elbita Tangoa Pinedo with maraca. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Yully knew about another Vasquez in this town so we went there first. By luck Weninger’s house was next door. His wife told us he wasn’t involved with the rosewood project anymore, but she told us that another man who lived down by the cemetery might be able to help us. Juan wasn’t home, but while we waited for his daughter to fetch him, his wife pulled out several bags of handicrafts and passed them to us one by one to inspect (and hopefully buy). I passed on the carvings but got one nice maraca and a few pashaca seed necklaces.

Juan was very happy to receive us and share the story of his group’s venture with rosewood that began about ten years ago. Tamshiyacu was known as a place where this aromatic tree had once thrived and been a center for rosewood exploitation and oil production. With encouragement and some technical assistance from the Institute for Investigations of the Peruvian Amazon (IIAP), a group of ten residents collected and germinated seeds from some of the remnant trees and planted about 7,000 seedlings in their forest properties. In meantime they collected enough material from some older trees to produce one liter of oil. They turned this over to IIAP and the university to analyze, but they never got any results.

Ayahuasca ceremony accessories. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Ayahuasca ceremony accessories. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

At this point Juan invited us to visit his property about 15 minutes away by motorcar where he had planted most of his rosewood seedlings. It was immediately apparent that Juan was a man of many talents. He raised some pineapple and his basic crops there and had a little building where he carved hunks of tawari and palo sangre wood into jaguars, snakes, eagles, and abstract human figures inspired by shamanic visions. There was a simple bunkhouse, eating area, and conical building where he led lodged, fed and guided guests in an ayahuasca ceremony. The sacred vines growing nearby showed that he prepared his potion from fresh material.

Double-snake design on Shipiba fabric. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Double-snake design on Shipiba fabric. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Ayahuasca vine at Juan's lodge. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Ayahuasca vine at Juan’s lodge. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Juan Silvano with young rosewood tree. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Juan Silvano with young rosewood tree. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

We paused to chat around a few of the rosewood saplings he had planted in 2003. The ones planted in open sun had grown very well. He had followed IIAP’s recommendation for a time to prune them so they wouldn’t grow taller than four meters – a nice height to keep the top leaves and branches within easy reach for harvesting. Juan had learned the importance of pruning the branches in the right way since poor technique caused unnecessary damage to the tree.

IIAP showed renewed interest in the project in 2008 when it surveyed the abundance of seed trees and condition of the five-year old seedlings in the fields of the group members that hadn’t abandoned the project. The group renewed the registration of its group (the Tamshiyacu Campesino Association of Amazon Aromas) with the regional government, but they let this expire again when the government again failed to offer any concrete way for them to make or sell any rosewood oil.

Putting palo de rosa leaves in bag at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Putting palo de rosa leaves in bag at Brillo Nuevo. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

The most recent glimpse of hope to use this resource came two years ago when a French woman came to the area with a plan to create multiple types of fragrant essential oils. While the group had only been able to process up to five kilograms of plant material in the distillation apparatus belonging to IIAP, this woman supposedly had a unit with at least ten times this capacity. For a year she had periodically bought batches of 300 kg. of leaves and branches from the five remaining active members of the group, but their plan for longer-term cooperation stalled when they failed to reach an agreement about how to pay for the association’s renewed registration. Juan heard that one of their members had sold several hectares of his land fully stocked with the young rosewood trees to her and left the area so she may be producing oil on her own now. Yully will try to track her and the last IIAP advisor to this project down so we can get the full story from their side.

Rosewood tree pruning scar and new branch. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Rosewood tree pruning scar and new branch. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

After this recent opportunity fell away, even Juan stopped maintaining his young rosewood trees. It was easy to see where top branches that now topped 6-7 meters emerged from the last pruning scar. There is still time to bring them back into a tighter management system for leaf production, but if he can’t convert the leaves to oil, he is content to let them grow into large trees for the future. He has clear fondness for this tree, though, since he recently planted a few new rosewood seedlings near his lodge.

Even if a large-scale project doesn’t materialize, Juan would like to make some oils on his own using the clean water from the stream that passes through his land. He once made some oils from several medicinal plants with a borrowed distillation unit and put them in old (and well cleaned) medicine vials he got from a friend at the hospital.

Campbell and Juan Silvano at Tamshiyacu lodge. Photo by Yully Rojas/CACE

Campbell and Juan Silvano at Tamshiyacu lodge. Photo by Yully Rojas/CACE


Yully and I came away knowing that Juan would be a valuable advisor for the development of our rosewood oil project at Brillo Nuevo since he knew so much about what it takes to grow the trees, harvest the raw material and turn them into fragrant rosewood oil. We now needed to learn a lot more about different strategies for marketing the product. Ideally we could figure out a way to get started with Juan’s group and then expand to include the Brillo Nuevo group when they are ready.

Pinneapples ready for shipment at Tamshiyacu. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE

Pinneapples ready for shipment at Tamshiyacu. Photo by C. Plowden/CACE