For more than 50 years, the natural recruitment of wild Western Australian sandalwood has been poor due to overgrazing, drought and the widespread disappearance of small marsupials, such as the woylie, from predation by feral cats and foxes.
The Forest Products Commission and Murdoch University researchers investigated the role of woylies in the regeneration of sandalwood. In 2005, they confirmed that the animals were collecting and hoarding seeds in shallow diggings, a behaviour known as scatter-hoarding.
Based on this knowledge, the FPC designed a mechanical process to mimic the role of the woylie in seed dispersal. This process evolved into an annual regeneration program named Operation Woylie. Each year, we now disburse more than five million seeds across approximately 20,000 ha of the Rangelands. FPC also works with land managers to identify potential areas on pastoral leases suitable for seeding and, once identified and planted, the FPC supports land managers to protect regenerated areas.
Sandalwood Dreaming is an FPC initiative to expand the sandalwood regeneration program. It engages Aboriginal people to collect and plant seed as part of FPC’s sustainable harvesting operations.
The project works with Aboriginal communities within the natural distribution area of Western Australian sandalwood. Aboriginal knowledge of Country is critical to the re-establishment of Western Australian sandalwood.
Wild Western Australian sandalwood harvested by the FPC is certified to the international standard for Environmental Management Systems (EMS ISO 14001). This means that our practices have been through a rigorous, independent environmental review process.
Certification provides customers with assurance that their sandalwood products originate from responsibly managed forests.