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Lansan tree

Latin name: Protium attenuatum

Areas: | Saint Lucia |

IUCN Red List conservation status

About: Lansan tree

I am proud that FFI has been able to provide swift technical and financial support to the Forestry Department to solve this problem. Their project is working with local resin tappers to develop co-management agreements and identify ways of harvesting resin without killing the trees. By drawing on the experiences of other projects – including FFI’s work with resin tappers in Cambodia – I am very optimistic that Saint Lucia can achieve a “win-win” for both the species and the many people who depend on it.

Dr Jenny Daltry

Senior Conservation Biologist, Fauna & Flora International

An image relating to Lansan tree

The Lansan tree is endemic to the West Indian islands of Dominica, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.

The total world population is unknown, but surveys in 2009 found lansan trees are still locally common in the lower montane rainforests of Saint Lucia. Martinique, on the other hand, is reported to have fewer than 50 individuals left.

Lansan tree facts:

  • The tree takes its English name from the French word ‘l’incense’, or ‘l’encens’ in Creole
  • Lansan resin is prized as incense, especially by Catholics
  • Lansan trees also play an ecologically important role in the rainforest. Their fleshy fruits provide food for pigeons and other forest wildlife

Habitat loss and over-exploitation of lansan for resin have decimated most of the island populations. Today, the largest remaining population is believed to be in Saint Lucia, but even here the species is under threat.

In 2010 Fauna & Flora International (FFI) began providing technical and financial support to the Forestry Department to solve the problem of destructive tapping practices to harvest the resin, which causes the premature deaths of numerous lansan trees, even inside the Forest Reserve.

Visit the Global Trees Campaign website to find out more on the Lansan Sustainable Management Project on Saint Lucia.

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Did you know?

Lansan is only one of nearly 1200 native plants recorded in Saint Lucia. This is almost as many species as there area in England, an area 210 times the size of Saint Lucia!

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