The lack of controlled regeneration is exacerbated by the low frequency of natural regeneration of A. rosaeodora. Further, A. rosaeodora is commonly impacted by habitat loss, and its illegal acquisition at any cost (P. Maderas, personal communication, March 27, 2017). Therefore, A. rosaeodora (Ducke) is IUCN Red Listed as an Endangered species (Barstow, 2021), and is trade-protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
Although levels of exploitation have declined with the increased use of synthetic linalool, it has not been sufficient to prevent the unsustainable and illegal harvesting of the rosewood tree, nor the illegal production and trade of its essential oil. It was announced on September 18th, 2017 that the essential oil multilevel marketing company Young Living “pleaded guilty in federal court to federal misdemeanor charges regarding its illegal trafficking of rosewood oil…. listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List in violation of the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act.” Whether the confiscated A. rosaeodora oil sourced from Peru was adulterated was not determined.
Aniba rosaeodora essential oil is frequently adulterated for many reasons including – it is among the most commercially valuable essential oils on the world market, the tree is Endangered and CITES-protected, expensive chemical analysis is required to differentiate between A. rosaeodora wood, leaf, and branch oils, as well as oil extracted from different species, and the supply is not available to keep up with demand due to years of unsustainable management and little to no regeneration.
All these reasons limit and complicate the market for distillers, retailers, and consumers alike. Consequently, suppliers and retailers attempting to obtain legally exported, authentic A. rosaeodora oil may often unknowingly purchase an adulterated oil. And if it is pure A. rosaeodora essential oil, it may not be the wood oil, and/or it may be illegally exported. Just how much illegally traded, misidentified rosewood oil is currently traded remains unclear.
There is an urgent need to bring awareness to the essential oil and perfume industries regarding the conservation and trade status of A. rosaeodora, reinforced by the need for further research into the oil. A better understanding of the product that ends up in the hands of consumers can help the conservation efforts to protect this Endangered species for future generations. It can also assist those who use the essential oil therapeutically, ensuring a more effective aromatic intervention.