The history of the Amazon could easily be written as a chronological inventory of products discovered—and then over-exploited—in the world´s richest forest. Quinine, rubber, mahogany, animal skins, oil, gold: each chapter would tell of how another useful wonder of nature was found and, almost without exception, driven to the verge of extinction to the detriment of the ecosystem as a whole.
While bulldozers, chainsaws, and pipelines are a few of the more familiar symbols of rainforest destruction, one of the most unexpected episodes in this history relates to environmental harm to feed essential oil distillation equipment.
This is the seldom told true story of one of the world’s best smelling trees—and thankfully, an opportunity to write a new, more hopeful chapter.
Rosewood, (Aniba rosaeodora) is an aromatic tree that has a long history of being over harvested and exploited to the point of near extinction to supply the demand of famous European perfumers thoughout the 20th century. Entire trees were once ripped out of the ground, roots and all were taken until almost none of these trees remained.
In 2013 Camino Verde was able to acquire and give a home to over a thousand rosewood trees, the fulfillment of a five year search for seeds that finally, so to speak, bore fruit. Over half of those rare seedlings were planted in partnership with a native community found in a remote area, formerly thick with rosewood trees. They have forged a sustainable future for a once-abused species that will also provide meaningful income for a proud, marginalized people.
In 2015 Camino Verde harvested the first branches and leaves in a new paradigm for rosewood essential oil production – one that promotes and enhances the species' survival rather than threatening it with oblivion.
And that is how we regenerate land and people!
Purchasing this rosewood oil helps to sustain Camino Verde's regenerative efforts.