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New updates to the Lacey Act from October 1 will require a plant import declaration and will hold importers liable for observing regulations related to the import of 27 new tariff lines, including sandalwood essential oil. With the U.S. importing USD $15.6 million worth of sandalwood in 2020, according to the International Trade Centre, we believe this move by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is positive for the sandalwood industry, which has been plagued by illegal poaching and harvesting over the past few decades.

Black market activity and overharvesting pushed the supply of Indian sandalwood (Santalum album) – the most luxurious of all sandalwood oils - to the brink and landed it on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) vulnerable species list in 1998. Unfortunately, this is still happening today with an estimated 90% of Indian sandalwood sourced from illegally harvested means in India[i].

At Quintis Sandalwood, we have dedicated the past 20 years to creating an ethical supply of Indian sandalwood, establishing the very first sustainable Indian sandalwood plantation in 1999. Quintis now proudly owns and manages the largest Indian sandalwood estate in the world, spanning over 12,000 hectares across northern Australia and home to more than 5.5 million trees.

Our plantation-grown Indian sandalwood oil (Santalum album) and Australian sandalwood oil (Santalum spicatum/Fusanus spicatus) are ethically grown and harvested in Australia and are Lacey Act compliant. We can supply our US customers with a Lacey Act Compliance Declaration for all products.

We encourage U.S. suppliers of essential oils to ensure that they are buying their sandalwood oil from a reputable and ethical source; there are severe penalties, including imprisonment, for those that don’t. There are 'red flags’ business should look for indicating products may not be ethically sourced: pricing that is below the market average, invalid paperwork, suppliers not willing to provide a certificate of authenticity, and suppliers that can’t answer basic questions.  The future of Indian sandalwood is reliant on its responsible and sustainable commercialisation, and everyone has their part to play.

If you have any queries, please click here to contact our local team.

[i] PARDI2 - Looking ahead: Sandalwood markets in 2040, Dr Lex Thomson, May 2019,

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