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4

HARD RESINS

COPAL

DESCRIPTION AND USES

The term copal applies to a large group of resins characterized by their hardness and relatively high melting point. They are soluble in alcohol. Up until the 1940s, or thereabouts, they were among the best of the natural resins for use in varnish and paint manufacture, and traded in very large volumes. In the oil-soluble form they were also used in the manufacture of linoleum. Copal has been produced from a large number of different tree species from many parts of the world - Africa, Asia and South America. Today, most copal of commerce originates from Agathis species of Southeast Asia: the Malay and Indonesian archipelagos in particular and, to a lesser extent, the Philippines.

Today, the major use of copal is as a varnish for wood and paper. It still finds use in road-marking paints, where the capacity of the resin to prevent bleed-through of road-making materials is beneficial, and there are numerous other, minor uses.

Until the decline in demand for copals brought about by the use of synthetic resins for varnish and paint manufacture, much of the copal was collected in the fossilized or semi-fossilized form. Nowadays, most of it is collected by tapping the living tree. Furthermore, many of the trees which are now tapped have been planted, and there is no longer dependence on the wild forest.

Historical introduction

Historically, the copals have been classified according to their geographical origin:

Apart from brief reference to the botanical sources of the African and South American copals (Plant Sources), the rest of the discussion below is confined to those copals which are still produced today: copal of mainly Indonesian origin and Manila copal ("almaciga"). Both are produced from Agathis species.

WORLD SUPPLY AND DEMAND TRENDS

Markets

Exports of copal from Indonesia and the Philippines for the period 1988-93, and their destinations, are given in Tables 17 and 18, respectively.

Total exports from Indonesia and the Philippines averaged about 2 300 tonnes annually during 1988-93. Most Indonesian copal (and some Filipino) is shipped via Singapore but Germany, which also imports directly from Indonesia, is a major onward destination and the most important in Europe. India and Japan import modest quantities directly from Indonesia. China (Taiwan) is the biggest importer of copal from the Philippines.

Imports of copal and damar into Japan during 1985-87 are shown in Table 19, although it is not possible to separate the two commodities. After 1987, copal and damar are not separated from "Natural gums, resins, gum-resins and balsams, n.e.s.". Combined imports of copal and damar averaged just over 400 tonnes/year in 1985-87.

Photo N.5 :Cleaning and sorting copal, Java, Indonesia. (Photo: J.J.W. Coppen)

Supply sources

Indonesia is by far the biggest producer and exporter of copal. After the fall in exports in 1989 from almost 2 500 tonnes the previous year (Table 17), levels have been remarkably constant at about 1 850 tonnes/year.

The Philippines is the second biggest producer of copal; exports during 1988?93 averaged about 350 tonnes/year with no clear trend.

In 1982, Sarawak exported just over 50 tonnes of copal; Malaysian exports since then record only very small quantities of copal.

Papua New Guinea has been a small producer and exporter in the past but the present scale of production from this source (if any), and other islands of the Pacific, is not known.

Quality and prices

The quality of copal which is collected is very variable, depending inherently on the species from which it is obtained (which may affect its solubility properties) and the manner in which it is collected: whether by tapping or by picking from the ground in a fossilized form. After cleaning (removing pieces of bark and other foreign matter), different grades of copal in trade are distinguished by their hardness, colour and size of the pieces, as well as the state of cleanliness. Pale, clean pieces, with good solubility in alcohol, are the best quality.

Present (mid-1995), indicative prices for some Indonesian copal grades shipped from Singapore (CIF London) are:
 


"Clean scraped chips" 
US$ 1 500/tonne 
"Medium scraped chips" 
US$ 1 000/tonne 
"Small chips" 
US$ 900/tonne 

Prices have been fairly stable in recent years.


 

PLANT SOURCES


Botanical names (present day Asia/Pacific copals)

Family Araucariaceae: Agathis spp.

The taxonomy of Agathis has been, and still is, confused and in the past, numerous different species names have been cited as the source of copal; the most common one has been A. alba. In some cases, even now, plantation trees, grown and tapped in Indonesia, are referred to simply as "Agathis spp.", with no attempt to give a full name.

WHITMORE (1977, 1980) and de LAUBENFELS (1989) recognize more than a dozen species of Agathis - which extend from peninsular Malaysia, across the Malay and Indonesian archipelagos to islands in the Pacific (as far east as Fiji), and south to the coastal regions of Queensland, Australia, and New Zealand - although the authors differ on some points. They agree that the natural stands on Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo which are sources of copal are those which should be designated A. borneensis Warb., but trees in the Philippines and Sulawesi are considered to be A. dammara (Lamb.) Richard by Whitmore and A. philippinensis Warb./A. celebica (Koord.) Warb. by de Laubenfels. Other copal producers include A. labillardieri Warb.

The identity of the extensive plantation Agathis which are tapped on Java is not known (to the present author) and to avoid confusion no species name is attached to Agathis hereafter in this discussion.

Historical copals

(N.B. The genera given below all belong to the family Leguminosae. However, the species listed are those attributed by HOWES (1949); their current acceptance in terms of botanical nomenclature is not known and some of the names may be obsolete.)

Congo copal

Mainly or entirely from Copaifera demeusei.

West African copals

Copaifera copallifera, C. demeusei, C. mopane.

East African copal

Almost entirely from Trachylobium verrucosum.

South American copals

Various Hymenaea spp., especially H. courbaril L.

Description and distribution (Asia/Pacific copals)

Agathis is the most tropical of all conifers. The copal-yielding species are very tall trees, up to 60 m high, often with a near-cylindrical bole. However, there can be some variation in the characters of the living tree, as well as the ecological conditions under which it occurs. It is grown widely as a timber tree on Java (over 100 000 ha) and other parts of Indonesia.

The distribution of Agathis has been discussed above.

COLLECTION/PRIMARY PROCESSING

Nowadays, most copal, at least that intended for international markets, is obtained by tapping the tree, rather than collecting fossilized resin from the ground. In the tree, the resin resides in the living inner bark of the trunk and tapping involves making incisions into the bark and collecting the exudate. Fresh cuts are made at suitable intervals - a few days or a week or more - gradually moving up the tree. The size and shape of the cuts, the extent to which they might penetrate the wood, and their frequency of application have changed over the years and still vary according to the country or region in which tapping is undertaken, or the traditions of the communities involved.

Present practice on Java is for the tapper to return to the tree to make fresh incisions every 3?4 days; up to four or more small tin cups may be in place at different points on the tree at any one time, depending on the size of the tree. In the Philippines, research has been undertaken using tapping methods very similar to those used in tapping pine trees (involving use of sulphuric acid as a chemical stimulant), but it is not known whether such methods are used commercially.

Collected resin is cleaned by sieving and hand picking to remove foreign matter, and packed in sacks for transfer to points of sale, either nationally or internationally.

Yields

Resin yields are very variable and depend on a large number of factors: genetic, environmental and practical (i.e., method of tapping used). Annual yields of 16-20 kg have been reported from good trees in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, while average yields have been variously estimated at 2 kg or as much as 10-12 kg. Recent tapping trials at three sites in the Philippines resulted in average annual yields of 1.2 kg, 3.7 kg and 5.6 kg/tree.

Recent research in Indonesia and the Philippines has shown that thick-barked Agathis yields significantly more resin than thin-barked trees (in one study in Indonesia, almost nine times as much), and that tapping in the morning and at the side of the tree which maximizes the length of time that sunlight falls on it is beneficial to resin yields.

VALUE-ADDED PROCESSING

No further processing is carried out until the copal is formulated for use by the end-user; this may involve heat treatment, dissolution in a suitable solvent and/or chemical processing. The latter may be carried out by a specialist chemical processor and usually involves preparation of copal esters to neutralize the natural acidity of copal and render it oil-soluble.

PRODUCTS OTHER THAN RESIN

Agathis produces a high class, much valued, utility timber and it is grown widely as a timber tree. In Malaysia, it is the most important commercial softwood, and it is also widely planted in Indonesia.

DEVELOPMENTAL POTENTIAL

Resin-yielding Agathis are planted for timber, rather than as a source of resin, and tapping of plantation trees is therefore a secondary activity to that of timber production. The proportion of planted trees which are tapped commercially is not known, but it is probable that it is a relatively small proportion and that copal production from such sources could be increased significantly if demand and the economics of production were favourable.

By nature, the trees are very large and there is little scope for agroforestry-type interventions. However, taking into account the fact that there is a steady demand for copal, that some copal will continue to be obtained from wild sources, and that importers are always prepared to consider new, reliable sources of supply, there may be some opportunities for new producers - perhaps for some of the Pacific islands where cooperatives can be organized.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

ANON. (1962) Almaciga Resin. FPRI Technical Note No. 35. 4pp. Laguna, the Philippines: Forest Products Research and Industries Development Commission.

BILLING, H.J. (1944) Congo Copal. The Oil and Colour Trades Journal, 3(Nov), 666-668.

BOWEN, M.R. and WHITMORE, T.C. (1980) The tropical conifer Agathis as a potential plantation tree. Paper presented at IUFRO Symposium and Workshop on Genetic Improvement and Productivity of Fast-growing Tree Species, Sao Paulo, Brazil, August 1980.

BOWEN, M.R. and WHITMORE, T.C. (1980) A Second Look at Agathis. Occasional Paper No. 13. 19 pp. Oxford: Commonwealth [now Oxford] Forestry Institute, University of Oxford.

CONELLY, W.T. (1985) Copal and rattan collecting in the Philippines. Economic Botany, 39(1), 39-46.

GONZALES, E.V. and ABEJO, F.G. (1978) Properties of Manila copal (almaciga) resin from 15 different localities in the Philippines. Forpride Digest, 7(1), 68-69.

GONZALES, L.L., CRUZ, V.C. and URIARTE, M.T. (1986) Effects of seasonal variation and sulphuric acid treatment on the resin yield of almaciga (Manila copal). Sylvatrop, 11(1-2), 43-54.

HALOS, S.C. (1983) Factors affecting quality and quantity of almaciga resin. National Research Council of the Philippines Research Bulletin, 38(1), 70-113.

HARRISON-SMITH (1941) Kauri gum. New Zealand Journal of Forestry, 4, 284-292.

HOWES, F.N. (1949) The copals. pp 93-103. In Vegetable Gums and Resins. 188 pp. Waltham, USA: Chronica Botanica.

De LAUBENFELS, D.J. (1989) Agathis. pp 429-442. In Flora Malesiana, Series I, Vol. 10. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

ORDINARIO, F.F. and TONGACAN, A.L. (1979) The influence of diameter and sulphuric acid on the resin yield of almaciga (Agathis philippinensis Warb.). Forpride Digest, 8(2), 21-34.

RIYANTO, T.W. (1980) [Small notes on copal resin] (in Indonesian). Duta Rimba, 6(42), 23-28.

SAULEI, S.M. and ARUGA, J.A. (1994) The status and prospects of non-timber forest products development in Papua New Guinea. Commonwealth Forestry Review, 73(2), 97-105.

SOENARNO, M.M.I. (1987) Copal production on Agathis spp of varying bark thicknesses, West Java. Duta Rimba, 13(Mar/Apr), 3-6.

SOENARNO, M.M.I. and BASARI, Z. (1984) [Study on the improvement of copal tapping procedure at Sukabumi Forest District, Java, Indonesia] (in Indonesian). Jurnal Penelitian Hasil Hutan, 1(3), 34-38.

SUMANTRI, I. (1991) [Relation between tree diameter and copal production during tapping of Agathis spp] (in Indonesian). Duta Rimba, 17(135-136), 42-45.

SUMANTRI, I. and DULSALAM (1991) [Manipulation of tapping design to increase resin yield of Agathis] (in Indonesian). Jurnal Penelitian Hasil Hutan, 9(1), 1-4.

SUMANTRI, I. and SASTRODIMEDJO, S. (1976) [Tapping Trials of Agathis Hamii M. Dr. in South Sulawesi] (in Indonesian, English summary). Report No. 58. Bogor, Indonesia: Forest Products Research Institute.

TONGACAN, A.L. and ORDINARIO, F.F. (1974) Tapping of almaciga resin. The Philippine Lumberman, 20(12), 18-19, 22-23, 25.

WHITMORE, T.C. (1977) A First Look at Agathis. Tropical Forestry Paper No. 11. 54pp. Oxford: Commonwealth [now Oxford] Forestry Institute, University of Oxford.

WHITMORE, T.C. (1980) Utilization, potential and conservation of Agathis, a genus of tropical Asian conifers. Economic Botany, 34(1), 1-12.

WHITMORE, T.C. (1980) A monograph of Agathis. Plant Systematics and Evolution, 135, 41-69.

Table 17. Copal: exports from Indonesia, and destinations, 1988?93
(tonnes)
 
1988 
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
2485 
1811 
1766 
1880 
1863 
1886 
Of which to :
Singapore 
1807 
1233 
1130 
1173 
1332 
1362 
Germany 
262 
405 
435 
495 
390
258 
India 
38 
45 
90 
105 
15 
57 
Japan 
38 
60 
38 
63 
25 
25 
Hong Kong 
22 
51 
30 
14 
30 
83 
China (Taiwan) 
270 
15 
Pakistan 
28 
30 
71 
87 
UK 
45 
Netherlands 
17 
France 
14 

Source: National statistics
 
 
 

Table 18. Manila copal: exports from the Philippines, and destinations, 1988-93
(tonnes)
 
1988
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
407 
345 
288 
363 
272 
382 
Of which to :
China (Taiwan) 
184 
196 
139 
224 
171 
286 
Hong Kong 
91 
72 
78 
84 
60 
52 
Singapore 
70 
57 
60 
44 
30 
USA 
56 
20 
14 
France 
11 
Germany 
11 
30 

Source: National statistics
 
 

Table 19. Copal and damar: imports into Japan, and sources, 1985-87
(tonnes)
 
1985 
1986 
1987 
Total 
441 
441 
347 
Of which to :
Indonesia 
426 
414 
347 
Singapore 
15 
27 
15 
Malaysia 
30 

Source: National statistics

DAMAR

DESCRIPTION AND USES


"Damar" (sometimes spelled dammar) is a Malay word meaning resin or torch made from resin. Although, today, the word is used in a more restrictive sense, it is still applied as a collective term to a great variety of hard resins. Damars of international commerce come from the dipterocarp forests of Southeast Asia, mainly from Indonesia. Damar from the sal tree is produced in India. Production is mainly by tapping living trees, although some is still collected from the ground in fossilized form.

Damars are solid resins, generally less hard and durable than the copals, and white to yellow in colour. They are distinguished from copal by their solubility in hydrocarbon-type solvents and drying oils. Like copals, however, their main use is still in the manufacture of paper or wood varnishes and lacquers, and some paints, although consumption has inevitably declined over the years with the widespread use of synthetic materials. They used to be an important ingredient in many types of cellulose lacquers, imparting gloss and adhesive qualities and preventing after-yellowing. Nowadays, they find particular use as a varnish for the fine arts.

Miscellaneous minor uses include the manufacture of inks, polishes, water-resistant coatings and injection moulding materials. A little is used in foods as a clouding or glazing agent. In the countries where damars are produced, they find local use for caulking boats and baskets. In India, sal damar is widely used as an incense and in the indigenous system of medicine.

WORLD SUPPLY AND DEMAND TRENDS

Markets

Interpretation of trade statistics for damar is made more hazardous than usual by the use of different terms for resins which are, nevertheless, damars of one type or another. Examination of Indonesian trade statistics reveals three different damars: "Gum damar", "Mata kucing" and "Batu". Mata kucing ("cat's eye") is a term applied to the crystalline damar resin (usually in the form of round balls) obtained from certain of the dipterocarp species. Batu ("stone") refers to the opaque, stone or pebble-shaped damar collected from the ground.

Indonesian exports of the three types of damar for 1988-93, and their destinations, are given in Tables 20a, 20b and 20c. Average annual exports have been approximately 2 000 tonnes (gum damar), 6 300 tonnes (Batu) and 3 200 tonnes (Mata kucing), making about 11 500 tonnes in total. There is some year-to-year fluctuation, but nothing that indicates a downward trend.

Exports of damar from Thailand for the period 1988-93, and destinations, are shown in Table 21. Exports have averaged approximately 1 800 tonnes/year, with a slight downward trend.

Considering Indonesian and Thai exports with smaller amounts from other countries, total international trade in damar might approach 15 000 tonnes/year.

Most Indonesian damar is exported to Singapore from where it is re-exported to consumer countries. Of those other countries which import directly from Indonesia, Germany is a major destination, particularly of batu (taking about 2 000 tonnes in each of 1992 and 1993). Other Southeast Asian countries such as China (Taiwan) and Malaysia import significant quantities, as does India. India is the biggest market for Thai damar and in recent years has taken all, or almost all, of Thailand's exports, around 1 500-2 000 tonnes/year.

Except for 1989, Japanese imports have been limited to "gum damar", usually about 100-140 tonnes annually. Combined imports of copal and damar for 1985-87 have been given earlier (Table 19).

Indian consumption of damar from indigenous sources is believed to be substantial but cannot be quantified.

Photo N.6 : A damar (Shorea javaica) garden in southern Sumatra, Indonesia, First
cuts for tapping are made when the tree is about 20 years old. (Photo: Mien Kaomini)

Photo N.7 :Tapper climbs the tree supported by a rattan belt to collect the solidified
exudated (damar) and to refresh the cuts, Sumatra, Indonesia. ( Photo: H. de Foresta)

Supply sources

Indonesia is by far the major source of internationally traded damar. Export statistics are not easily accessible for some of the other countries known to produce damar, but of these, Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia have exported variable quantities. De BEER (1993) has estimated Laotian production of damar at 500-1 000 tonnes/year and states that most is exported to Thailand; a proportion of Thai exports may therefore simply be re-exports of damar from Laos. Malaysia exports small quantities of damar but the larger level of imports make it a net importer.

Quality and prices

As would be expected for a commodity of such diverse origins, damar is of extremely variable quality. Colours range from very pale grades to those which are grey-black. Physical form and size varies from large irregular lumps or smaller globular lumps to small chips and dust. In past years, damars of recognized quality were usually identified by the port at which cleaning and grading took place and from where they were dispatched, or their geographical origin (e.g., Pontianak and Batavia), and this is still often the case today (e.g., Palembang).

There is an FAO specification for damar which gives a number of limits for such things as arsenic, lead and heavy metal content.

Illustrative of current (mid?1995) prices (CIF London) are the following for grades A-C of Palembang damar:
 


US$ 1 250 - 1 370/tonne 
US$ 1 225 - 1 345/tonne 
US$ 1 120 - 1 215/tonne 

The lower end of each range is the discounted price for larger (container load) lots. Dealers in London state that prices have been very stable over recent years.

PLANT SOURCES


Botanical names

Family Dipterocarpaceae:

Shorea spp. (including S. javanica K. & V. [Sumatra], S. lamellata Foxw. [Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo], S. virescens Parijs [Borneo, the Philippines], S. retinodes Sloot. [Sumatra], S. guiso (Blco) Bl. [Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, the Philippines] and S. robusta Gaertn. f. [India]).

Hopea spp. (including H. dryobalanoides Miq. [Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo] and H. celebica Burck. [Sulawesi]).

Vatica spp. (including V. rassak (Korth.) Bl. [Borneo, the Philippines, Sulawesi, New Guinea]).

Vateria spp.

Balanocarpus spp.

Family Burseraceae: Canarium spp.

Description and distribution

Trees of the family Dipterocarpaceae are medium to very large trees, widespread and of very great importance as a source of tropical hardwood throughout the Indian and Southeast Asian regions, including the Malay and Indonesian archipelagos. A large number of species from several genera have been tapped for resin at one time or another, and where the resin which is collected is used locally this is still probably true. The number of species which yield resin which eventually enters world trade is smaller but the identity of the botanical source is usually lost as the damar passes through the various stages of sale.

Shorea robusta is tapped in India. Wild trees of various Shorea and Hopea species are tapped in Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam. Although many dipterocarps flower and fruit very irregularly (which has hampered attempts to cultivate them) damar is collected from certain species which have been successfully planted by local people in Indonesia: S. javanica and H. dryobalanoides in Sumatra and Vatica rassak in Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Maluku.

Canarium spp. also yield a dammar-type resin, which is occasionally collected although it is not believed to be an important item of commerce.

COLLECTION/PRIMARY PROCESSING

TORQUEBIAU (1984) gives a good description of tapping cultivated S. javanica in Sumatra. Traditional methods of tapping trees to obtain damar (whether wild or cultivated trees) involve removal of wood from the stem. Cuts made into the trunk have a triangular form but become circular with age and are arranged in vertical rows around the trunk. The first cuts are made when the tree is approximately 25 cm in diameter (about 20 years old). The cut is several centimetres wide at first, but becomes enlarged at every tapping and eventually becomes a hole of 15?20 cm in depth and width. The average number of holes for a tree about 30 m high and 60?80 cm diameter is 9?11 in each of 4?5 vertical rows. For the higher holes, the tapper climbs the tree supported by a rattan belt and using the lower holes as footholds.

The exuded resin is allowed to dry on the tree before it is collected; resin which forms hard drops becomes "mata kucing". The frequency with which the tree is visited to refreshen the cut varies from once a week to once a month, depending on how far the tree is from the village. Tapping can continue for 30 years.

In India, tapping involves removing narrow strips of bark from the tree. The resin which exudes solidifies and darkens on drying and is then removed from the tree. Tapping is repeated several times a year.

Yields

When tapped once a month in the manner described above, a fully productive tree has been stated to yield about 4 kg of damar at each tapping, i.e., about 48 kg/year. However, there is known to be genotypic (tree-to-tree) variation in yields and some trees may only be tapped every 3 months because of poor yields. In other cases, if the resin from a good-yielding tree is not collected for 6 months it may completely fill the hole in the tree (10-15 cm wide and deep).

Resin production is reported to fall markedly when the tree is flowering and fruiting, and only reaches previous levels a year later.

Photo N.8 : A Shorea Javanica tree in later stages of tapping, Sumatra, Indonesia
Tapping continues for a period of about 30 years. ( Photo: Mien Kaomini)
 

VALUE-ADDED PROCESSING

So-called "dewaxed" damar is prepared by dissolving damar in a hydrocarbon solvent and precipitating and removing a high-melting, resinous fraction. The remaining soluble fraction is then more compatible with the cellulose component of cellulose lacquers.

PRODUCTS OTHER THAN RESIN

Damar-producing trees are also highly valued for timber, and felling them for sawtimber or the manufacture of value-added wood products is usually the primary activity. Some local use is made of the fruits.

In India, an oil is distilled from the resin which is used for fragrance and medicinal purposes. The seeds of sal furnish a fatty oil and the residual cake can be used as an animal feed.

DEVELOPMENTAL POTENTIAL

The "kebun damar" (damar gardens) of S. javanica in Lampung, southern Sumatra, are an example of how, over many years, communities have developed a traditional cultivation system which is now regarded as a model of agroforestry technique. Rain-fed rice is grown for one or two years and then coffee, pepper or some other crop is planted, together with Shorea and other useful trees such as cloves. While the damar trees are reaching the age at which they can first be tapped (15-20 years), other products can be harvested to provide cash income to the farmers. The whole system converts one of a shifting cultivation to a permanent, sustainable, productive land-use system.

Much is still to be learnt about the biology and silviculture of S. javanica but valuable knowledge and experience has already been gained and research is still in progress through BIOTROP in Bogor, Indonesia. It is hoped that the successful development of plantations of S. javanica will encourage the use of other dipterocarps and native trees for plantation forestry. There is much potential, therefore, for the agroforestry approach to damar production, not only in Indonesia but in other countries, and the important question may then be that of the market and how much damar it can absorb.

Research needs

Apart from the need to acquire more detailed information on the markets for damar (countries or regions which are important consumers, end uses, customer requirements in terms of quality, etc.), other areas of research (in addition to continued research on silvicultural aspects) should include:

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

ANON. (1959) Dewaxed damar - a review. Paint, Oil and Colour Journal, 11(Sep), 215-218.

ANON. (1973) Damar. FPRI Technical Note No. 136. 3pp. Laguna, the Philippines: Forest Products Research and Industries Development Commission.

De FORESTA, H. and MICHON, G. (1994) Agroforests in Sumatra - where ecology meets economy. Agroforestry Today, 6(4), 12?13.

FAO (1992) Dammar gum [published in FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 31/2, 1984]. p 475. In Compendium of Food Additive Specifications. FAO Food and Nutrition Paper 52 (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives. Combined Specifications from 1st through the 37th Meetings, 1956-1990). Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization.

GIANNO, R. (1986) The exploitation of resinous products in a lowland Malayan forest. Wallaceana, (43), 3-6.

JAFARSIDIK, J. (1987) [Damar resin-producing tree species and their distribution in Indonesia] (in Indonesian, English summary). Duta Rimba, 13(Mar/Apr), 7-11.

JAFARSIDIK, Y.S. (1982) [Resin-producing tree species in Sumatra] (in Indonesian, English summary). Duta Rimba, 8(54), 36-37.

MESSER, A.C. (1990) Traditional and chemical techniques for stimulation of Shorea javanica (Dipterocarpaceae) resin exudation in Sumatra. Economic Botany, 44(4), 463-469.

SOESILOTOMO, P.S. (1992) [Damar tree breeding [for increased resin production] in Probolinggo Forest District] (in Indonesian). Duta Rimba, 18(143), 42-46.

TORQUEBIAU, E.F. (1984) Man-made dipterocarp forest in Sumatra [including Shorea javanica tapped for resin]. Agroforestry Systems, 2(2), 103-127.

TORQUEBIAU, E.F. (1987) Multidisciplinary research on Shorea javanica. I. Introduction. BIOTROPIA, 1(1), 42-45.

Table 20a. Damara: exports from Indonesia, and destinations, 1988-93
(tonnes)
 
1988 
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
1665 
1374 
952 
2198 
2376 
3031 
Of which to :
Singapore 
659 
994 
778 
1583 
1902 
2171 
Japan 
289 
136 
109 
136 
121 
123 
Germany 
118 
63 
30 
90 
75 
90 
China (Taiwan) 
15 
15 
15 
130 
100 
229 
Malaysia 
40 
25 
15 
98 
16 
76 
Pakistan 
531 
Netherlands 
13 
15 
UK 
78 
45 
France 
25 
13 
48 
93 
Korea, Rep. Of 
20 
75 
Viet Nam 
18 
Hong Kong 
10 
20 
15 
Sri Lanka 
18 
18 
India 
-
20 
234 
Colombia 
38 

Source: National statistics

Note: a : Classified as "Gum damar"
 
 

Table 20b. Damara (batu): exports from Indonesia, and destinations, 1988-93
(tonnes)
 
1988 
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
5749 
6549 
6571 
6206 
5214 
7440 
Of which to :
Singapore 
4563 
4890 
5021 
4581 
2962 
4242 
Germany 
700 
1408 
1105 
1250 
2092 
1966 
Malaysia 
385 
170 
264 
315
163 
India 
29 
28 
168 
60 
121 
818 
China (Taiwan) 
52 
15 
16 
15 
Pakistan 
14 
23 
13 
Bangladesh 
223 
Netherlands 
20 
Poland 
24 

Source: National statistics

Note: a : Classified as "Resin: Batu"
 
 
 

Table 20c. Damara (mata kucing): exports from Indonesia, and destinations, 1988-93
(tonnes)
 
1988 
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
2929 
3449 
3355 
4169 
2585 
2814
Of which to :
Singapore 
2714 
3122 
2710 
3072 
2265 
2114 
China (Taiwan) 
160 
207 
612 
821 
115 
304 
India 
41 
20 
20 
68 
219 
Germany 
31 
15 
76 
77 
Malaysia 
55 
33 
15 
Japan 
27 
Italy 
15 
10 
France 
13 
Korea, Rep. Of 
200 
Ecuador 
36 
UK 
16 
32 
Saudi Arabia 
12 
Syria 
24 
China,P.Rep.(excl.Taiwan) 
19 

Source: National statistics

Note: a : Classified as "Resin: Mata kucing"
 
 

Table 21. Damar: exports from Thailand, and destinations, 1988-93
(tonnes)
 
1988 
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
2107 
2328 
1499 
1841 
1391 
1475 
Of which to :
India 
2031 
2295
1499 
1841 
1372 
1475 
Singapore 
64 
17 
Pakistan 
10 
Tunisia 
16 
Bangladesh 
17 
Myanmar 

Source: National statistics
 
 

MASTIC

DESCRIPTION AND USES

Although usually termed a gum, mastic is a hard resin, produced by tapping the stem bark of the small tree Pistacia lentiscus, which is cultivated on the Greek islands of Chios.

Mastic is produced in the form of small tears, pale yellow in colour, clear and glassy in nature and liable to fracture. Its age-long use in Arab countries has been for chewing, where it sweetens the breath and helps preserve the teeth and gums. Its aromatic properties also make it suitable as a flavouring agent for alcoholic beverages. In the past it was also used in the manufacture of high-grade varnishes for paintings, and for medicinal purposes.

An essential oil can be distilled from the gum and finds some use for fragrance and flavouring purposes.

WORLD SUPPLY AND DEMAND TRENDS

Markets

Since Greece is by far the most important source of internationally traded mastic, production in Chios is also a fair measure of world demand. In the mid-1940s, annual production was around 300 tonnes. Greek sources estimated production at about 250 tonnes and 200 tonnes in 1961 and 1963, respectively. In 1975, production was put at 300 tonnes. Demand appears, therefore, to have been maintained at around 200-300 tonnes annually for some time. Recent figures are not known.

Apart from the Middle Eastern countries, where mastic is used for chewing, the United States and Europe also import it. In the United States and Europe, part of the mastic is distilled to produce essential oil.

Supply sources

Greece is by far the most important (and may well be the only) source of mastic of commerce. Production levels have been indicated above. Countries such as Algeria and Morocco have offered occasional, small quantities in the past.

Quality and prices

There are a number of different grades of mastic corresponding to degrees of cleanliness and size and shape of the tears. Exuded resin that has not been allowed to drop to the ground before collection and has formed perfect tears is the best quality and fetches the highest price.

An illustrative price for small quantities of No. 1 small tears (mid-1995, CIF London) is US$ 60/kg. Discounts are available for larger quantities. There has been a steady upward trend in prices in recent years.

PLANT SOURCES

Botanical name

Family Anacardiaceae: Pistacia lentiscus L. var. chia

Description and distribution

P. lentiscus is an evergreen, shrubby tree which normally grows to a height of about 2-4 m; exceptionally, it may grow to about 5 m. It is slow growing and long lived, and attains its full development at 50-60 years. The natural habit of the plant is bush-like, but under cultivation for mastic gum only one or two shoots are allowed to grow and develop into stems; the mature plant consists of one or two thick, contorted stems with an umbrella-shaped crown.

Other Pistacia species, such as P. vera, yield an exudate resin but P. lentiscus is the only one which is tapped commercially.

P. lentiscus prefers an arid, sub-tropical climate and occurs in coastal Mediterranean regions of both southern Europe and north Africa, and some of the islands in the Mediterranean such as Sicily, Sardinia and Cyprus. However, it is only cultivated for mastic on the Aegean island of Chios, where it occurs as P. lentiscus var. chia; it is often interspersed with olive trees.

COLLECTION/PRIMARY PROCESSING

In Chios, tapping and collection of the resin is limited to a 3-month period in late summer between July and October. The first light tappings are made when the tree is about six years old. A number of short, shallow incisions are made into the bark of the stem and the main branches. The wounds penetrate a few mm into the bark as far as the cambium; the number of wounds depends on the age and size of the tree. Further cuts are made at approximately one-week intervals. The first tapping period continues for 5-6 weeks and after a further 10 days, during which time the last of the exuded resin dries and solidifies, the first collection is made. This entails picking up pieces of resin that have fallen on the ground as well those adhering to the trunk of the tree. A second tapping and collection is made in the second half of the season.

After collection, the mastic is laid out to dry and foreign matter is removed by a combination of sieving and hand picking. The semi-cleaned resin is then soaked in water which serves to remove most of the adhering dirt and smaller impurities; it also gives the pieces of resin an added lustre.

Yields

The mastic plant starts yielding reasonable amounts of resin, about 30 g/year, at 10-12 years of age. Yields then gradually increase to about 300-400 g per tree at the age of 50-60 years. Individual trees have been known to yield up to 1 kg under favourable conditions.

VALUE-ADDED PROCESSING

An essential oil can be produced in 1-3% yield by steam distillation of the resin. Extraction of the resin with a suitable solvent yields a mastic resinoid.

PRODUCTS OTHER THAN RESIN

No other products of economic value are obtained from the tree.

DEVELOPMENTAL POTENTIAL

The market for mastic is firm but modest. If supplies continue to be available from Chios, then there is unlikely to be much scope for new entrants to the market, whether from wild or cultivated plant sources. Given also that P. lentiscus is slow growing, that the traditional mastic comes from a particular variety that occupies an ecological niche in Chios, and that it is some years before any economic returns are gained from cultivated plants, there is little developmental potential in mastic as far as new producers are concerned.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

CHENOPOULOS, D. (1961) [Pistacia lentiscus and mastic production in Chios] (in Greek). Dasika Chronika, 3(4/5), 140-149.

DAVIDSON, D.F.D. (1948) Report on the gum mastic industry in Chios. Bulletin of the Imperial Institute, 46(2-4), 184-191.

GUENTHER, E. (1952) Oil of mastic. pp 169-170. In The Essential Oils, Vol. 5. New York: Van Nostrand Co.

KATSIOTIS, S, and OIKONOMOU, N.G. (1984) Qualitative and quantitative GLC analysis of the essential oil of Pistacia lentiscus (mastic) from different districts of Chios Island. Pharmkeutikon Deltion Epistemonike Ekdosis, 10(1), 17-28.

MARNER, F.J., FREYER, A. and LEX, J. (1991) Triterpenoids from gum mastic, the resin of Pistacia lentiscus. Phytochemistry, 30(11), 3709-3712.

PAPAGEORGIOU, V.P., MELLIDIS,A.S. and ARGYRIADOU, N. (1991) The chemical composition of the essential oil of mastic gum. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 3, 107-110.

PICCI, V., SCOTTI, A., MARIANI, M. and COLOMBO, E. (1987) Composition of the volatile oil of Pistacia lentiscus L. of Sardinian origin. pp 107-110. In Flavour Science and Technology. Martens, M., Dalen, G.A. and Russwurm, H. (eds.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.

SCRUBIS, B., MARKAKIS, P. and ZABIK, M.J. (1975) Essential oil of mastic gum. International Flavours and Food Additives, 6(6), 349 and 356.

TSITSA, S. (1963) The mastic shrub of Chios. Dasika Chronika, 5(8), 364-366.
 
 

DRAGON'S BLOOD

DESCRIPTION AND USES

The term "dragon's blood" has been applied since ancient times to the red coloured resin obtained from a large number of plant species of different geographic and botanical origin: from the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America, and from amongst several different families of plants. The resin of commerce is in the form of powder, granules, sticks or friable lumps with a deep, dull red colour.

Traditionally, dragon's blood has been, and still is, used for medicinal purposes, whatever the source. In the past it has found minor use in coloured varnishes, lacquers and wood stains, although its use for this purpose (other than locally) is now largely confined to very specialized markets, such as violin varnish.

WORLD SUPPLY AND DEMAND TRENDS

Markets

It is extremely difficult to estimate the size of the market for internationally traded resin, but it is probably not more than a few hundred tonnes annually, and may be much less.

Domestic consumption in those countries where dragon's blood is popular as a traditional medicine is equally difficult to estimate, but demand in countries such as Peru and Ecuador, where Croton is the botanical source, is believed to be significant.

The main source of dragon's blood of commerce is Indonesia, and exports from Indonesia for the period 1988-93 are given in Table 22. Apart from Pakistan in 1991, all recorded exports went to Singapore and Hong Kong, so the final destinations - assuming most is re-exported - are not known.

Supply sources

Indonesian exports, probably originating in Sumatra, averaged just over 50 tonnes/year during 1988-93, with a peak of almost 90 tonnes in 1991. The scale of domestic consumption is not known so it is not possible to say by how much production might exceed the levels of exports.

Resin from plants growing in Yemen, the Canary Islands and sources in South America are not believed to enter world trade.

Quality and prices

Dragon's blood of Indonesian origin is available as sticks ("reed") or cakes ("lump"). In mid-1995, Indonesian dragon's blood was quoted by one London dealer at US$ 60/kg for small quantities (cf US$ 42/kg in 1992). Another dealer quoted US$ 33/kg for No. 1 grade and US$ 5/kg for No. 2 grade, both of Middle Eastern origin.

PLANT SOURCES


Botanical/common names

Family Palmaceae:

Daemonorops draco Blume East Indian dragon's blood
D. didymophylla
D. micranthus Becc.
D. motleyi Becc.

Family Agavaceae:

Dracaena cinnabari Balf. f. Socotra dragon's blood
D. draco Canary dragon's blood

Family Euphorbiaceae:

Croton draconoides (Muell.) Arg.
C. draco Schlect
C. lechleri L.
C. urucurana Baill.
C. xalapensis H.B.K.

Description and distribution

Daemonorops spp. are climbing jungle palms and the source of cane in Southeast Asia. In D. didymophylla, spiny stems bear bunches of scaly fruits which are covered in the red resin. In the past, the main areas of exploitation for resin have been the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and some parts of Peninsular Malaysia.

Dracaena spp. are mostly trees of the Old World. D. cinnabari is endemic to the island of Socotra, Yemen. D. draco occurs on the Canary Islands.

Numerous Croton spp. which yield a blood red latex (Sangre de Drago) occur in Mexico, Central America and South America (e.g., Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil).

COLLECTION/PRIMARY PROCESSING

Dragon's blood resin obtained from Daemonorops is present as a brittle layer on the surface of the immature fruit. After picking, the fruits are dried and placed in bags, which are then beaten to dislodge the resin. The resinous powder thus obtained is then sifted and warmed so that it can be moulded into sticks or formed into irregular shaped lumps.

Resin from Dracaena and Croton is obtained by making incisions into the stem of the plant and collecting the exudate.

Yields

No information is available on yields of resin from any of the botanical sources.

VALUE-ADDED PROCESSING

No further processing is carried out until the resin is ready for formulation by the consuming industry.

PRODUCTS OTHER THAN RESIN

Apart from local use as a source of cane in Southeast Asia, no other products of economic value are known to come from the species which yield dragon's blood.

DEVELOPMENTAL POTENTIAL

Unless some of the traditional medicinal uses of dragon's blood are developed into more widely used products, there appears to be very little developmental potential for the plants or the resins they produce.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

HIMMELREICH, U., MASAOUD, M., ADAM, G. and RIPPERGER, H. (1995) Damalachawin, a triflavonoid of a new structural type from dragon's blood of Dracaena cinnabari. Phytochemistry, 39(4), 949-951.

MILBURN, M. (1984) Dragon's blood in East and West Africa, Arabia and the Canary Islands. Africa, 39(3), 486-493.

PIETERS, L., de BRUYNE, T., MEI, G., LEMIERE, G., VAN DEN BERGHE, D. and VLIETINCK, A.J. (1992) In vitro and in vivo biological activity of South American dragon's blood and its constituents. Planta Medica, 58(7), A582-583.

PIOZZI, F., PASSANNANTI, S. and PATERNOSTRO, M.P. (1974) Diterpenoid resin acids of Daemonorops draco. Phytochemistry, 13, 2231-2233.

RAO, G.S.R., GERHART, M.A., LEE, R.T., MITSCHER, L.A. and DRAKE, S. (1982) Antimicrobial agents from higher plants. Dragon's blood resin. Journal of Natural Products, 45(5), 646-648.
 
 

Table 22. Dragon's blood: exports from Indonesia, and destinations, 1988-93
(tonnes)
 
1988 
1989 
1990 
1991 
1992 
1993 
Total 
26 
59 
71 
87 
47 
25 
Of which to :
Singapore 
19 
56 
59 
36 
38 
23 
Hong Kong 
12 
20 
Pakistan 
31 

Source: National statistics

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