Palo Santo Sustainability is a Natural Endeavor
Every year in February, clouds gather above the Pacific Ocean and descend on Ecuador’s coastal highlands. Along with heavy downpours that bring much-needed moisture, powerful winds lash the forests where wild Palo Santo trees grow.
The wind and rain test every branch throughout the canopy, thinning old wood and knocking over aging Palo Santo trees. In a dance as old as the forest itself, this ancient cycle clears space for new Palo Santo trees to sprout in fresh patches of sunlight.
How Continuity is Ensured
The people who live in this forest—who live with this forest—closely monitor this ever-changing tapestry of life, death, and rebirth. The Palo Santo forest is their livelihood. It is their home.
When a Palo Santo tree falls over, its journey has only begun. As the rains recede a few months later, the fallen Palo Santo wood begins to cure through the long dry season.
Skilled foresters tag the downed tree, taking note of its age and location. Oftentimes, a Palo Santo sapling is planted beside its fallen elder, ensuring plenty for years to come.
How Palo Santo is Aged
One season is not enough. In order for the resins within the Palo Santo wood to achieve their maximum potency, the tree must rest on the forest floor for at least four, and as many as ten years. Only then do harvester cut the wood into manageable pieces and haul it by hand or on motorcycle to nearby villages.
If you love Palo Santo as much as we do, you can close your eyes and easily imagine the powerful healing aromas that suffuse these rural villages on days when locals process Palo Santo branches into incense sticks.
In small workshops and on front porches alive with playful children, gentle dogs, and unruly roosters, the families of the Palo Santo harvesters cut the wood to size and prepare it for use.
The Palo Santo Cycle
And so the cycle of Palo Santo sustainability continues, year after year. Living with the forest, not against it. Sustainable. Renewable. Humans working in harmony with nature. Palo Santo, the holy wood. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
Learn more about the benefits of Palo Santo here.