The Study of Agarwood (Aquilaria filaria) Plantation Growth in the Merapi Mountain Area with Agroforestry System in Sleman Regency, Yogyakarta Province, Indonesia

By: Rawana

Forestry Faculty of Stiper Agricultural University

Jl. Nangka II Maguwoharjo, Depok Sleman Yogyakarta, Indonesia


Agarwood (gaharu) is one of the species of trees that produced of oleoresin (gubal) in the stem or root that more than other parts. This species gradually is become rare caused over harvesting by gaharu hunters. Furthermore the species must be conserved by planting this species in an area. The aims of the research are (1) to find out about agarwood growth (diameter and high) in the agroforestry system. (2) To know environmental factors that directly influencing agarwood growth. (3) To know the effect of agarwood plantation on conserving the soil and water in Sleman regency area, Yogyakarta Indonesia (4)to know the suitable habitat for agarwood that planted mix with Paraserienthes falcataria, and mix with Salak Pondoh (Salacca zalacca) trees. The areas of study are divided into 2 Blocks. First, the agarwood plantation planted together with Salak Pondoh, and the second agarwood plantation planted together with Paraserienthes falcataria.  (5) To know the effect of these models measured by T test. The out come are: (1) Agarwood that planted with salak pondoh (Block I) are a lot better than the other Block. (2) Agroforestry system that mixcropping with Salak Pondoh significantly give a good microclimate that suitable for agarwood plantation growing. (3) The agroforestry system can to conserve the soil and water in Sleman Regency area. (4)From economic point of view mix cropping between agarwood and salak pondoh is more prospective, especially to increase local community income.

Keywords: agroforestry, agarwood, oleoresin

  1. Introduction

Agarwood  is one of endagered species which is included in CITES appendix II . It's population are rapidly declining because over exploitation. Agarwood is a plant that produce resin that having specific fragrance. This is caused by secondary metabolism process. The distinctive fragrance is a favourite among people especially by  from  middle east. Agarwood is use in use in exclusive perfume, other use of agarwood is tea from it's leaves, these leaves where converted into green tea, the gubal or the full resin of agarwood can be use as agarwood oil material also use in Indian traditional medicine (Ayurvedic).    

Agroforestry is a land management concept that emphasize mixing between forest plant and agricultural plant in a single area. In it's development not only forest and agricultural plant but also fishery and animal husbandry is also being use in this system. For example Silvo Fishery ( a mix beteween forest plant (mangrove) with fishery.), Silvopasture ( a mix between forest plant with animal husbandry plant in a single area.) also Agrosilvopasture( a mix between forest plant, fisheries and animal husbandry in a single area.)

Agroforestry is alternative concept that can be adapted in an area that in needs of balance between economical and ecological use of an area. The advantages of agaroforestry are: adoptability (because agroforestry is emphasizing on how this system being suitable by certain community), secondly productivity because this system increase the productivity of an area also sustainability( sustainability of this system  that being maintain by local community).  

B. Goals:

The ultimate goals of this research are:

  1. To know agarwood growth (diameter and high) in the agroforestry system.
  2. To know environmental factors that directly influent on agarwood growth.
  3. To know the effect of agarwood plantation to conserve the soil and water in Sleman regency area, Yogyakarta Indonesia.
  4. To know the suitable habitat for agarwood that planted mix with Paraserienthes falcataria, and mix with salak pondoh (Salacca zalacca) trees.

  1. Methodology

1. Site and schedule

These sites lies on latitude 07’37’’39 longitude 110’24’’47 or in Dusun Kemiri, Desa Purwobinangun, Kecamatan Pakem, Sleman Regency, Yogyakarta Special Administration Region Province, Indonesia. It located in 628M ASL, in the southern part of  mount Merapi slope, it has Regosol soil type with sandy texture, these site is also located in eruption path of mount Merapi  


Figure 1. The map of sites agarwood plantation in Sleman Regency, Yogyakarta Province ,Indonesia

2. Experiment Objects and tools

The object of this experiment is agarwood stands that were planted with agroforestry pattern (mix cropping). Agarwood were planted together with Salak in site I and with Sengon in site II. The agarwood were planted in november 2003. We are using meter band, ruler, chaliper, vaulting standards (to measure the high of the tree), altimeter, camera, notes and pen also computer.  

3. Experiment Method

We are applying primary and secondary data collection method. Secondary data was collected in related institution and for primary data were collected by measuring on the field. Our experiment goes as followed:

  1. Experiment area were divided into 2 blocks, block 1 is agarwood mixcropped with Salak Pondoh as for block 2 is agarwood under Sengon stands.
  2. Each block is 15X45 M wide with sampling intensity 50%.
  3. Samplings were done using systematic sampling method. We measure intermittent in agarwood lines. Measuring direction is from east to west.
  4. In this experiment  we would like to check and examine several perimeters which are agarwood trees height, the Salak and Sengon height, the diameter of agarwood crown also Sengon and Salak diameter too are being measured. As for environment factors that we measured are temperature, humidity, light intensity and pH.
  5. We are using T test to found out the difference of each parameter in block I  and block II


Figure 2. agarwood plantation under Salak (Block I).


Figure 3. Agarwood plantation under Pharaserienthes falcataria stand (Block II).

  1. Result and discussion

1. Diameter growth

The agarwood diameter growth which are planted under Salak were faster compare to those whose planted under Sengon. With 90% Humidity  the envorinment underneath the Salak can pace up better agarwoood both growth and diameter. Several literature on agarwood silviculture stated that one of highly effect agarwood growth was high humidity. Under the Salak the temperature measured 29.9 oC is relatively higher compared to those that were planted underneath Sengon. This temperature is caused by lack of wind that flows trough the Salak trees so that it cause slower heat transfer. Sumarna (2000) stated that agarwood can grow in it's best condition up to 32 oC temperature. As for agarwood that were planted underneath sengon the temperature measured 29.7 o C quite lower than the underneath the Salak. Since Sengon with it's thin crown and lesser density are abling wind to enter so it cause faster heat transfer.

Figure 4. Graph of a agarwood stem diameter growth in Block I (agarwood under salak) and Block II (agarwood under Pharaserienthes falcataria (sengon) Stand)

The soil type on both blocks are same, Regosol with sandy texture, which came from mount Merapi eruption. The agarwood was fertilized during the begining of rainy season with 10 Kg of manure for each plant followed by 100 gr of NPK. Both block I and block II were fertilized at the same dosage. Salak is being fertilized periodically also we made a moat around the Salak then we fill it with organic material from Salak leaves and it eventually become compost.  

Figure 5 . Trunk diameter measurement for agarwood that are planted under salak

Based on table I we can see that agarwood diameter on block I are larger then block II each are 6.8 and  5.16 Cm respectively.

Tabel 1. Recapitulation of mean of  the field parameters  Data in Block I and Block II


 Block I

(Agarwood plantation under salak)

Block II

(Agarwood under Paraserienthes stand)

Diameter breast height (dbh)

6,8 cm

5,16 cm


590 cm

534 cm

Crown diameter

190 cm

214 cm

Environment factors

- light intensity

254,2 lux

37766,7 lux

- temperature

29,9 o C

29,7 o C

- soil pH



- Humidity

90 %


2. Height growth

Agarwood height growth underneath Salak are quicker then those that are underneath Sengon, from this fact we may conclude that the enviromet underneath Salak is alot more suitable for agarwood growth. In silviculture science it is well known that height growth are very close related to fertility of the soil. Wolving (1932) in his WVW for teak trees table using Teak trees high to know whether an area is sutable or unsuitable for Teak tree to be grown at this called as "Bonita." We can also using this perimeter for agarwood. High tree growth is showing the fertility class of an area also suitability of growth in designated area. From experience in the field several factors that are very important to agarwood growth are water supply, humidity, temperature, type of soil and light intensity. by it's nature agarwood is a semi tolerant tree it means that juvenille agarwood need shading for it's best growth but later on when it reach mature age it will need full sunlight.

Figure 6. Graph of a agarwood height growth in Block I (agarwood under salak) and Block II (agarwood under Pharaserienthes falcataria (sengon) Stand)

Based on field measurement it is known that average light intensity that fell into Salak trees are 254,2 lux much lesser then on Sengon which is 377.766,7 lux. The light intensity of agarwood trees underneath salak is the best compare to those underneath Sengon. Over exposure to light will casue excessive evapotranspiration and can cause the agarwood leaves to shrivelled

3. Crown diameter growth

The agarwood crown diameter that underneath Salak are narrower compare to those that underneath the Sengon. The crown of agarwood cannot grow well underneath Salak since Salak have very massive and thick crown. Salak were planted by distance 2.5MX 2.5M and it's crown diameter is 2-2.5 M. Reviewing to the mentioned condition above we know that Salak crown is very thick, damp and green so the agarwood beneath it cannot grow in fast pace but when it reach 4.5 M height it will gain full sunlight so it will stimulate a larger size crown.  Agarwood that are beneath Sengon grown it's crown without any competition from other plants since  because it has being shaded by 17 M height Sengon crown.      

Figure 7. Crown diameter of agarwood plantation under salak plantation and Pharaserienthes falcataria.

4. Crown  Structure

 Crown structure in block I and block II are consists 2 strates each are Agarwood with Salak and Agarwood with Sengon. In the beginning of cultivation on block I the upper strate where fill with Salak and the secondary strate were filled by Agarwood, this is also happen in block II Sengon came on the first strate and  Agarwood on the second strate. On year six after cultivation there is a change in strate especially in block I , the strate had changed, the first strate is now changed mostly by Agarwood underneath it is Salak then Agarwood and on the lowest strate are Agarwood underneath Salak.    

horizontal and vertical arrangement of agarwood plantation under salak pondoh

Figure 8. a) Horizontal arrangement  b) Vertical arrangement of agarwood plantation under salak pondoh plant

Harizontal and vertical arrangement of agarwood under Pharaserienthes falcataria stand

Figure 9. a) Horizontal arrangement  b) Vertical arrangement of agarwood plantation under Pharaserienthes falcataria (Sengon) stand.

5. Pest and disease

Based on research conducted by Prijono and Rawana (2007)  they reported that the pest that attacked agarwood are  worms (Lepidoptera), Butterlfies(Lepidoptera)Grasshopper(Orthoptera), White Lice(Homoptera), and Gastropod(Mollusca), Fire Lice( Hemiptera), Aphids (Hemiptera), Stone Fly (Plecoptera) adn Spider (Arachnidae)

Agarwood that were planted underneath Salak shows low pest and disease attack compare to Agarwood planted under Sengon. We assume that  block II is mostly attacked by pest and disease because (a) Climate or weather change that lead to population boom with swift growth and attacking suitable plant  (b) worms that attacked Agarwood first they attacked Sengon this mean that Agarwood also being likely to be attacked by Sengon worm (c) The microclimate condition underneath Sengon is suitable for swift growth of pest (d) Underneath Sengon that having higher light intesity and lower humidity is very suitable for worms compare to Salak that have higher humidity and harder leaves. (e) By  this year  there is a population boom of pest, Sengon were attacked not only common worms but also bag worms and possibility of tree cancer which are  not yet solved in Indonesia.      


Figure 10 . Pest of caterpillar  (ordo lepidoptera) attack agarwood plantation under Pharaserienthes falcataria  (Sengon) stand

E. Community Advantages

Economically, agroforestry model in block I ( mixcropping Salak Pondoh plantation with agarwood) give benefit to local community. Agroforestry model  in block I give the economical benefit by local community, the sort term benefit got from salak pondoh. The Plantation can be harvested by farmers on 3 years old. In 1 hectare salak pondoh area can be get  result of mean Rp 40 million rupiah ( US$4000/ year). Marketing of Salak Pondoh product is very easy, because its market have been formed. Salak Pondoh product was marketed in regional but also in International through product export. Nature of sweet wrong fruit and can be kept sufficient during compared to  an other fruit, hence price Salak Pondoh fruit rather  stable compared to [by] price [of] result of other crop fruit. Beside Salak Pondoh leaf can be produce organic fertilizer. An agarwood plantation will be harvested as along term product. Young agarwood leaf  also young sandalwood leaf exploiting ( tunas) for the raw material of making tea.

 And so do agroforestry model [at] block II ( mixcropping  agarwood plantation and Pharserienthes falcataria /sengon). Society gets the economic result come from sale of wood of sengon and agarwood. Sengon is inclusive of type which its growth relative quickly compared to sandalwood. Usually tree sengon harvested by farmers at age 5 year. Sale [of] this type of easy to, 1 bar sengan old age 5 year, stem diameter  40 cm, tree high 10 meter have sold at the price of Rp 300 thousand rupiah ( US$ 30).

Figure 11. a reap Salak ready for harvest

  1. Conclusions.

Conclusion of the research:

  1. Agarwood that planted with salak pondoh (Block I) are a lot better than the one that is planted underneath sengon.
  2. Agroforestry system that mixcropping with Salak Pondoh significantly give a good microclimate that is suitable for agarwood plantation growing.
  3. The agroforestry system can to conserve the soil and water in Sleman Regency area.
  4. Economically mixcropping the agarwood and the salak pondoh more prospective, especially to increase local community income.

  1. References