How to grow a sandalwood tree

Sandalwood is a tree native to Timor-Leste and its significant ecological, commercial and cultural value to the country has been widely recognised. But wild populations are dwindling to nearly nothing, seedlings take decades to reach maturity, and the tree’s parasitic tendencies make it difficult to grow. How can farming families in Timor-Leste unlock the value …

11 things you didn’t know about sandalwood

Say the word sandalwood to most people and they’ll likely think of hippy essential oils, touristy hand-carved ornaments, and not much more. But sandalwood is one of the world’s most valuable and important trees, and few people know it’s indigenous to Timor-Leste.

Mapping Timor-Leste’s agricultural diversity

Rural development programs in Timor-Leste face an uphill battle when allocating resources across the country, because Timor-Leste’s highly variable landscape causes a rich diversity of complex agricultural livelihoods. So, how can rural development efforts effectively distribute resources across such a very diverse range of livelihood systems? New research from AI-Com researchers offers a solution.

How can intercropping help farmers in Timor-Leste?

You’ll find red beans and corn in the kitchens and on the dinner tables of thousands of households across Timor-Leste. Now, new research supported by AI-Com is investigating how combining these staple crops on the south coast can help farming families maximise crop yields, improve land use, and support community livelihoods.

Farmers on the frontline of innovation in Timor-Leste

On a sunny Tuesday in Bobonaro municipality, to the west of Timor-Leste’s costal capital, Dili, six farmers are happily packing rich black dirt in around their new sandalwood tree seedlings. With their scuffed-up sandals, worn-out polo shirts and dirt-crusted fingernails, they don’t look like what you’d imagine if you thought of a scientist – but …