Stakeholders' perceptions on developing sustainable Red Sanders (Pterocarpus santalinus L.) wood trade in Andhra Pradesh, India
Red Sanders (RS, Pterocarpus santalinus L.) is an endangered timber tree species endemic to southern India. Using stakeholders' perceptions, this study evaluates the existing restricted RS wood trade and provides insights for developing a sustainable trade policy by involving private landowners as a strategy for improving its conservation in the wild. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats–Analytic Hierarchy Process framework was used to analyze perceptions of four stakeholder groups (Administrators, Landowners, Traders, and Knowledgeable Sources). There was a consensus among the stakeholders that the challenges for sustainable RS wood trade outweigh the positive features. High price of RS wood and availability of niche international market were seen as the most important Strengths. Long gestation crop (+40years), lack of Incentives, small land holdings, administrative complexities, and competition from commercial agriculture crops were identified as the main challenges. Results indicate that before proceeding with an imminent policy change, it is important to address the major challenges. These results provide a basis to prioritize and address the existing challenges and reinforce the positive features of RS wood trade. A sustainable wood trade policy formulated by incorporating stakeholders' perceptions may help in improving the conservation status of this endangered species.
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