" During a survey in a MAP garden in Panbari, Golaghat of the Assam Forest Department, 70 Aquilaria Malaccensis showed symptoms of serious dieback."
Those symptoms were defoliated, fragile branches, rotten roots, stem base.
The scientists brought the root, brand and leave sample back to the lab and conducted a pathogenicity test to find out the cause.
(Pandey S, Rishi RR, Jayaraj RSC, et al. https://doi.org/10.1111/efp.12489)
After several tests, the research team discovered the leading cause is Fusarium Equiseti which is interesting because Fusarium inoculation is one of the methods of agarwood creation.
This artificial induction of agarwood using fungal inoculation has been proven to be a promising technique for agarwood formation as it mimics nature. It speeds up the creation process much faster compared to the physical-mechanical induction.
(Source: Faiza,Esyant,Aulianis,Santoso,Turjaman,Iriawat Trees (2017) 31:189–197)
In a recent study, Aquilaria Malaccensis develop agarwood formation rapidly in reaction to fungal inoculation using F. solani and FEquiseti(Faizal et al., 2017). It is known that F. Equiseti is a pathogen causing severe diseases in many crops, but this is the first time it becomes known, causing dieback in Aquilaria Malaccensis.
So we have contradicted information here, FEquiseti can be used as a method to create agarwood but also the cause of its dead
We think it is because of age. Looking at the first image, the tree is very young, around 3 to 5 years of age, which is not able to sustain the wound, let alone the disease. To start the inoculation process, the usual age requirement of the tree is 10-year-old. By this age, the tree trunk is thick enough and healthy enough to start "fighting". Wounded the tree any period earlier than this will risk dying early
To illustrate, see the below tree trunk.
The trunk is thick enough to sustain the wound for over nine continuous months. It will need to support another 15 months before harvesting.
See below is 15 to 16 month which spread downwards.
When the matured tree is old enough, it can stand for the infection and create phytoalexin that is formed after suffering an attack, known as agarwood. After 24 months of infection, it is time to harvest
In conclusion, it takes not only time to plant Aquilaria trees but also a significant financial investment and vast or multiple plantations sites.
In the first ten years, there is ZERO income but expenses. It takes another two years for the agarwood creation process before harvesting. Now, to our valuable customers, the pain of the trees, the hardship we endured, without passion, and support from you, we would not be able to make this far.