We are very proud to work with a supplier who takes great care in the collection of Palo Santo. The trade of Palo Santo is highly regulated in South America and it is illegal to cut down trees for consumer use. Therefore all of the Palo Santo we get comes from naturally fallen trees and limbs that are collected by the surrounding communities. There are several systems of checks and balances to make sure that the rules and law are followed when it comes to making Palo Santo products.
SERFOR is one of the first in the line of defense of the forest. It is a program of the Peruvian Ministry of Agriculture and their job is to strengthen forest management in a productive and sustainable manner in the Peruvian Amazon. Permits issued by SERFOR are required to collect and export Palo Santo to the USA and other countries. You can see 1 of our vendors permits here and treatment documentation as well (with private information blocked out).
The United States Department of Agriculture works alongside US Customs & Border Protection to ensure that all documentation is up to date and all permits are on hand as required to import Palo Santo and wood products into the US. Several permits are required and verified with several internal departments of each program. You can see 1 of our several permits here (with private information blocked out).
There are communities that live around the forests where Palo Santo trees grow in Piura, Peru, and they are responsible for collecting the Palo Santo wood. They never cut down trees because it's illegal but interestingly enough, also because there would be no special scent! Palo Santo trees have to lay in the sun and dry for a period of time to accumulate the scent that they have from their natural oils and resin. The communities describe their "harvesting" or "collecting" as if they were walking through the forest and cleaning it up - picking up branches and dead trees.
New Palo Santo trees are planted around the forest and the communities are working hard to get these areas classified as a protected forest to prevent damage and logging. New trees are planted every single year to make sure the Palo Santo species sticks around for a very long time. In fact, planting new saplings is actually a requirement of the Palo Santo producers given to them by their government.
Not only are we doing everything we can to work with the proper vendors who care about the environment and this sacred plant, but this Palo Santo trade actually supports and feeds the local communities in Peru - they depend on it as a primary source of their small local economy. So now you know where our Palo Santo actually comes from!