Red Sanders UPSC: IUCN Status, Economic Importance, Threats and Smuggling

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

Red Sanders (also known as Red Sandalwood) is a highly valuable and non-fragrant sandalwood. It is highly in demand across Asia, mainly in Japan and China, because of its rich hue and therapeutic properties. With its Red List classification system, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) placed the Red Sanders in the “endangered” category in 2022.

A species of Pterocarpus known as the red sander is exclusive to South India’s Eastern Ghats mountain region. It is a rare wood that makes it very costly in international markets. The article will cover all the necessary details regarding Red Sanders for the upcoming UPSC Exam. Candidates can also download the Red Sanders UPSC Notes from the link given below.

Red Sanders

The Pterocarpus santalinus, often known as Red Sanders, is a tree species that is native to only India and has a small geographic range in the Eastern Ghats. In Andhra Pradesh, the species is unique to a particular area of woodlands. Typically, red sanders grow in rocky, deteriorated, and barren areas having red soil and hot, dry weather.

Andhra Pradesh government has absolute rights and authority over the sale and management of red sanders. The Red Sander tree has dark greyish bark and grows 5-8 meters in height. The tree is traditionally considered not aromatic.

IUCN Status of Red Sanders

Red Sanders, also known as Red Sandalwood has moved back into the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List’s endangered category in 2022. Red sanders were declared ‘near threatened’ in 2018.

Red Sanders UPSC Notes

Red Sanders is also included in CITES’s appendix II, which indicates that exporting it calls for a certificate that should only be issued if doing so won’t endanger the species’ survival. India is the main market for the smuggling of red sanders for the world, so this topic has been in the news most of the time.

Red Sanders Protection Status

  • Red Sanders is listed in Appendix II of CITES.
  • IUCN Red List – Endangered.
  • Wildlife protection act 1972 – Schedule II.

Uses of Red Sanders

Indian Journal of Applied Research stated that the heartwood Red Sanders are good raw materials for furniture and musical instruments. The wood of the red sander is not famous at present in the world, but it has been historically valued in China, especially during the Qing dynasty.

The uses of Red Sanders are as follows:

  • It is used to treat the purification of blood. Red Sanders is also used to treat digestive tract problems and coughs.
  • It is said that Red Sanders can absorb nuclear radiation, though the primary purpose of the red Sanders is to be decorative and ornamental. It also comes in use for coloring foodstuff.
  • People also use this in treating conditions of cancer, fluid retention, wound, and many others.
  • Skilled craftsman makes stunning artifacts from red sandalwood. Red sandalwood is famous in India and worldwide because of its properties.

Threats on Red Sanders

Overharvesting and exploitation are other threats to red sanders. New species are not growing fast, and harvesting is happening continuously.  IUCN has cleared that species have experienced a popular decline of 50% to 80% over the last three generations.

  • After the ban on red sanders, illegal smuggling has increased. People still smuggle the wood through roads, sea roots, and other ways. Most smuggling cases have been seen in the south side of India.
  • Forest fire is also another threat to the red sender tree.
  • Slow growth and continuous harvesting seem to be a big threat to the red sanders.

Export of Red Sanders

The features of the red sandalwood, like a deep red color and the ability to resist harsh temperature and humidity, make this wood unique and expensive. As per the Foreign Trade Policy, the export of red sanders is banned from India, but smuggling is rife.

  • Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized the 95 and 96 MT of red sanders in the year 2021-2022 and 2020-2021, estimated to be worth 150 crores in the international market.
  • In March 2022, DRI detained 12.20 MT from the ampule in CFS that was being transferred to Malaysia along with household items.
  • India produces 90% of the sandalwood oil in the world. There is still an illegal trade of species to fulfill the demand of the world.

Difference between Sandalwood and Red Sanders

Below we have mentioned the key differences between sandalwood and red sanders:

  • Sandalwood: Sandalwood is the second costliest wood after African black wood. An individual can grow red sanders, and it is renowned for its cosmetic value.
  • Red Sanders: It is very valued in Japan, China, and Middle Eastern countries. Red Sanders is used in decorative items as well as for preparing medicines. It is illegal to sell and possess it in India.

Future of Red Sanders

In recent times, the Union Government has asked the state government of Andhra Pradesh to put efforts into protecting the red sanders tree, which is endemic to the Seshachalam biosphere, by bringing down the smuggling activities to complete in the region.

Geographical information systems and remote sensing can be effective and useful in understanding red sanders bearing forests for objectives of Conservation, tree improvement, and legal commerce. A conservation plan should be drawn for future sustainable utilization after mapping the red sanders area using a multitemporal satellite.

Red Sanders UPSC

Only in the Seshachalam hills of Andhra Pradesh can one find red sanders, which are indigenous and endemic to India. The topic was in the news last year, and one can surely expect questions on it in the upcoming Prelims exam.

Candidates can refer to the Environment and Ecology UPSC Notes to study about Red Sanders in detail.

Red Sanders UPSC Questions

Question: Consider the following statements:

  1. It is a tree species found in a part of south India.
  2. It is one of the most important trees in the tropical rainforest areas of south India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) Only 1, b) Only 2, c) Both 1 and 2, and d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: It is a tree species found in a part of south India.

Question: Consider the following statements about Red Sanders:

1. It is found in the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South India.

2. This tree is valued for the rich red color of its wood.

Which of the above statements is/ are correct?

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