Maydi works directly with registered local villagers who harvest the Frankincense resin from company and family owned farms to sustainably manage the Frankincense tree populations, as we have done for several generations. Great care is taken to ensure our heritage is never spoiled through mismanagement or overexploitation. Tapping is carried out by trained and experienced harvesters and encompasses a series of highly specialized tasks carefully carried out in a systematic approach that is sensitive to the health and propagation of the forests and their surrounding environment.
There are differences in harvesting techniques between of the two species; Boswellia carterii and Boswellia frereana.
Carterii is traditionally harvested through a series of cuts in the tree bark. The trees are left to exude resin for between 14 and 18 days for the best quality and multiple collections are possible during the harvesting season. The resin is collected and dried in the mountains before being bulked for sale.
The growth in the international market for Carterii oil has enticed some communities to overtap trees without allowing sufficient resting periods. When the trees are not given sufficient time to recover, they are unable to repair themselves leaving them susceptible to disease and pests as their immune defences become weakened. Gradually their yields of resin diminish and if left unchecked, this unsustainable form of harvesting can result in their death. Another unsustainable harvesting practice is the tapping of juvenile trees which can leave them stunted and unable to grow to their full size.
Conventional wisdom says that in order to protect the trees, they should be rested for one out of every five years they are harvested. Maydi's trees are tapped once a year for two years and then rested for a year in order to give them time to recover. This approach is widely accepted by both researchers and industry as being the most sustainable way of harvesting the resin in order to protect the Carterii trees for future generations.
Maydi harvesters only tap one side of the tree, with the average number of wounds per tree being 12, never exceeding 15. When Frankincense trees are tapped from both sides, the tree releases an unwanted component into the resin to defend itself which lowers its quality. Both the low number of wounds per tree and only tapping one side allow the tree to remain healthy throughout its productive lifetime.
In addition, access to Maydi's trees and the harvest of the resins is through company and family owned farms. We do not allow outsiders to tap our trees, effectively eliminating access to itinerant harvesters who might attempt to side-step our sustainable harvesting protocols in search of higher short-term profits.
Lastly there is no shortage of trees in the areas in which Maydi sources its Carterii. The range of mountains in which the Frankincense occurs is roughly 1,000 km in length and the volumes of Carterii resin that are being extracted annually is a mere fraction of total potential availability.
Frereana trees are harvested in an entirely different way. The first cuts are made in July and the trees are left untouched until the resin is harvested the following April. No harvesting takes place in between these times.
Each cut is just a scratch made on the bark of the tree trunk. Each tree has a maximum of 12 cutting sites. Once the initial cut is made, the tree is then left for 15 days to exude. After 15 days, a second cut is made one half centimeter above the first cut. After 15 days, a third cut is made one half centimeter above the second cut. This process repeated every 15 days until a total of 18 cuts have been made on each cutting site. No resin is harvested throughout this whole period. The resin is only harvested after the full 18 cuts have been made and the resin from each cut has been allowed to exude, merging with the resin from the cut below. This takes approximately 9 months. Therefore the tree is only harvested once in a harvesting year.
All cuts are made on the windward side of the tree only as this enables easier and swifter drying of the resin and also helps prevent DME formation. After a tree has been harvested, it is allowed to rest and recover for one full year. Therefore each Frereana tree is harvested once every other year; i.e. one year of harvest, one year of rest
Given that Frereana trees are harvested from natural exudates as opposed to forced exudates as with Carterii, the risk to the trees themselves is greatly reduced.
helping local communities
Learn about our production processes - from tree to oil
Frankincense tree tapping
Grading of resin tears by hand
Maydi's high quality resins, oils & hydrosols - read more