Eucalyptus oil – a growing concern
Bosisto’s has embarked upon an ambitious project to dramatically increase eucalyptus oil production in Australia, through the biggest agricultural experiment in the history of the eucalyptus industry.
As a uniquely Australian product and Australia’s first indigenous export, eucalyptus oil has a variety of personal and household uses – from killing germs, to a natural antiseptic, powerful cleaner and freshener. Its popularity continues to grow as more people embrace the benefits of natural products.
Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Oil contains naturally occurring Blue Mallee (eucalyptus polybractea) around Inglewood, north-west of Melbourne in Victoria. As a renewable resource, the trees are harvested every two years and some areas have been continually harvested since 1898.
Keeping up with demand
However, Australia is no longer the main worldwide producer of eucalyptus oil and the majority is now produced off-shore. Bosisto’s has formed a strong partnership over the past 17 years with the School of Botany, University of Melbourne and created a joint venture breeding program to double the normal blue mallee oil yield by creating a ‘super tree’.
The project has relied on collecting, growing and seeding high yielding trees through the development of seed orchards with a view to establishing plantations for the production of eucalyptus oil. This high tech agro forestry project is beyond anything attempted before. The objective, to double the amount of the normal eucalyptus oil yield, allows for greater productivity and allows Australia to again compete internationally in production.
In addition, Blue Mallee trees produce a superior pharmaceutical quality oil with a stronger, longer lasting fragrance.
Success so far
With more than 4 million trees already planted, the project continues to gain momentum. The successful results already gained are highly encouraging.
This project ensures significant advantages for local production
- A higher oil yield
- Oil of superior pharmaceutical quality
- Ability to mechanically harvest
Not only is eucalyptus oil harvesting harmless to the environment, it has many environmental and social benefits. Bosisto’s plantations are being established on previously marginal farming land (land with little agricultural value, but perfect for the hardy eucalypt) and is actually replanting trees that were originally cleaned. The deep and extensive roots of the trees capture carbon and reduce salinity in the soil.
Even the waste products from harvesting are recycled - biomass can be converted into biofuel or used as a natural garden mulch (the next time you visit the award-winning Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, take note of our fragrant euca-mulch around the plants!). For the community, the plantations can provide further employment and an economic return for marginal land.
When the first stage of the plantation is complete, it will be equivalent to planting in a straight line from Melbourne to Hawaii! Bosisto’s objective is to increase production of high quality oil so Australia can regain its lost market and again be the main supplier to the world.