Eucalyptus oil is a fantastic example of a truly renewable resource. It’s created from a naturally sustainable and environmentally friendly process and doesn’t harm the eco-system – in fact as you’ll read, it even has a positive impact. And like few other industries of its kind, it is a unique and integral part of our Australian heritage.
How is harvesting sustainable?
When they think “cutting down trees” many people think of logging and associated scarcity issues within native forests. However, eucalyptus harvesting is quite different.
The Blue Mallees harvested for Bosisto’s are more like shrubs; they only grow to waist height before being harvested each year. These trees love being cut down so that oil can be extracted from their leaves – in fact they thrive on it, and coppice (regrow) again and again each year (much like rose bushes, as keen gardeners will know).
This renewable process can go on for hundreds of years without any evidence of damage to individual trees. Some of the Blue Mallees in Bosisto’s unique natural forests in the Inglewood and Wedderburn districts of central Victoria are more than 350 years old. They have been harvested for over 100 years and are still going strong.
How is it Eco-friendly?
No chemicals are used to grow Bosisto’s eucalypts – no pesticides, fertilisers, weed killers – just the natural elements of sun, rain and soil. True Aussie battlers, they survive under even the harshest of drought conditions.
The root systems of Blue Mallee eucalypts actually appear to improve soil quality, reducing levels of salinity. The harvesting process also reduces the risk of fire by providing a natural fire break; a process which mirrors the regular ‘burning off’ by the land’s original Aboriginal occupants.
There’s very little wastage in either the eucalyptus harvesting or distillation processes. After the oil is extracted, the biomass of spent leaves are returned to the furnaces as fuel, or made into garden mulch and returned to the earth.
The entire process actually hasn't much changed in over 160 years (sometimes you can't improve on perfection!) and has always been imbued with a great respect for the natural elements and a synergy with the land and its cycles.
It’s koala friendly, too!
It’s a myth that eucalyptus harvesting deprives koalas of their food. In fact, koalas don’t enjoy the taste of eucalypts used for commercial oil production and don’t live in them either, preferring the larger, taller gum trees like the River Red Gum or Manna Gum.
Blue Mallee forests provide a diverse and healthy natural eco-system in which native flora and fauna appears to thrive.
Harvesting provides ground cover and safe refuge for native birds and animals against feral predators. Wild flowers and other native plants also flourish in Blue Mallee plantations, as the lack of canopy allows an abundance of natural light.
•There is no harm to native wildlife
•Harvesting improves the diversity of floral species
•Harvesting reduces the risk of fire
•No pesticides or fertilisers are used in the process
•Harvesting improves soil quality
•The by-product biomass is used in the production as fuel and excess can be recycled and used for gardening, breaking down to organic humus