INTRODUCING BOSWELLIA PAPYRIFERA (DEL.) HOCHST AND ITS NON-TIMBER FOREST PRODUCT, FRANKINCENSE/FAO

INTRODUCING BOSWELLIA PAPYRIFERA (DEL.) HOCHST AND ITS NON-TIMBER FOREST PRODUCT, FRANKINCENSE
Abstract

Boswellia papyrifera is one of the most important multipurpose tree species in Central and eastern Africa. It is a drought-resistant species that continues to grow in marginal lands, produce incense, flower and grow leaves even in harsh and unpredictable biophysical conditions. The species is better known for its non-timber forest product, frankincense. Frankincense has been used for ritual and church ceremonies, traditional medicines, pharmaceutical, perfumery, adhesive, painting, food and other industries all over the world. In addition to this, the species has other numerous environmental, socio-economical, traditional and industrial benefits. However, recent reports indicate that the species is declining at an alarming rate and needs priority in conservation. In this paper the importance of B. papyrifera in general and its non-timber product, frankincense, in particular are described. The history and the contemporary use and trade of frankincense from B. papyrifera are reviewed. Techniques of harvesting, grading and sorting of frankincense are discussed. Finally, issues and concerns related to the population decline of B. papyrifera are highlighted.-FAO