A tree in Hong Kong is being poached for its prized wood worth more than gold

Jan 10, 2019

Hong Kong’s namesake, the “heung” incense tree, is under threat by poaching, largely from mainland China.

The tree is prized for its fragrant wood, known as Chinese agarwood, which has been used for centuries to make beads, perfume, sculptures, and incense.

Agarwood can sell for more than its weight in gold, with the best pieces going for thousands of dollars per pound.

Today, the species is listed as vulnerable, and activists estimate that fewer than 300 adult trees are left in Hong Kong.

Want to learn more about incense trees and Hong Kong’s ecology? We made a cartoon about the city’s feng shui forests and the valuable trees that populate them.

Hong Kong ForestsHong Kong culturePoachersFeng ShuiWild Series


Written by: Dolly Li

Featuring: Ho Pui-han and Dr. Terence Ng

Produced by: Dolly Li and Clarissa Wei

Shot by: Joel Roche and Clarissa Wei

Edited and Mastered by: Joel Roche

Special Thanks to: Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department