Kerala's famous Marayoor sandalwood under deadly SSD threat; Minister orders to cut infected trees

Sandalwood tree /
Representative Image: Mathrubhumi

Idukki: Sandalwood in Kerala's famous Marayoor forests is facing a serious threat from deadly Sandalwood Spike Disease (SSD) which leads to mortality of trees due to changes in the physiology of the species, the state government said here on Tuesday.

State Forest Minister A K Saseendran on Tuesday visited the Marayoor Sandalwood Reserve in this hill district and directed the officials to take measures to prevent the spread of theD in the sandalwood for which no treatment is available.

Cutting down the infected trees was the one and only option currently to contain the spread of theD, which is the most destructive of known diseases to infect the sandalwood in the country, the minister told reporters here.

The government is reportedly planning to cut 2,000 trees infected by the disease to prevent its spread.

The minister, after holding a meeting with the Forest officials here, said the disease is spreading fast and it could have been contained if the infected trees were cut in the last two years.

He said the spread of the disease can be arrested only if its source is identified.

Marayoor in the Western Ghats contains a number of sandalwood forests and it is known for its high-quality sandalwood in the country.

It is the only place in Kerala where natural sandalwood forest is present. PTI

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