Sandalwood spike disease (SSD) has recently started spreading to private fields where the cultivation of sandalwood has been taken up on a commercial basis.

 

About the Sandalwood Spike Disease

  • It is caused by phytoplasma — bacterial parasites of plant tissues — which are transmitted by insect vectors.
  • The disease was first reported in Kodagu in 1899.
  • Sandalwood is being classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 1998.
  • Presently, there is no option but to cut down and remove the infected tree to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Between 1 and 5% of sandalwood trees lost every year due to the disease.
  • SSD has been one of the major causes for the decline in sandalwood production in the country for over a century.