We’d like to extend our gratitude to the Palo Santo collectors. They are more than skilled wildcrafters and craftspeople. They are caretakers of a deceptively complex ecosystem in need of protection and renewal.
A Palo Santo Forest at Risk
The Ecuadorian Dry Forest is home to a lot more natural abundance than it appears at first glance. Rising from the Pacific Ocean in undulating waves, these forbidding highlands receive little rainfall for most of the year. It is a thorny land with sparse free-flowing water.
Nonetheless, countless species of animals are well adapted to this ecoregion, from tiny hummingbirds to majestic jaguars. This land is also home to a diverse plant community that includes the Palo Santo tree.
Sadly, the Ecuadorian Dry Forest is threatened on many fronts. Loggers, ranchers, and climate change all pose serious risks. On the bright side, Palo Santo collection provides sustainable livelihood for the people who call this region home.
Generations of Palo Santo Care
In ages past, local people combined Palo Santo collection with other sustainable activities. They kept farm animals on their land, grew corn in communal fields, and fished in nearby rivers.
Over the last few decades, the remnants of the Ecuadorian Dry Forest have been changing with the climate. Traditional subsistence activities grow increasingly marginal. Palo Santo collection is more important than ever to local livelihoods.
Rather than allow their communities to dry up with the land, the local people have enacted a plan for the long-term survival of their way of life. Central to this plan is the planting of over 60,000 trees in the last decade.
These trees do more than ensure ample Palo Santo for future generations of harvesters. They also stabilize soil, enhance micro-climates, and provide wildlife habitat.
The Human Side of Palo Santo Sustainability
As you may have read in previous posts, our Palo Santo collectors only gather wood from naturally fallen trees in a protected forest preserve. In combination with our collaborative tree-planting program, this ensures sustainable supplies of Palo Santo for years to come.
We thought you might enjoy a deeper look into the human side of this enduring partnership. When the people who harvest Palo Santo have the opportunity to live in harmony with the land, nature and society benefit.
Here at Sacred Wood Essence, our mission goes beyond sharing the benefits of Palo Santo. We pray our offerings bring abundance, stability, and renewal to the people of this living world.