Bible and archaeology news
Frankincense, the fragrant and aromatic resin that was one of the three famous gifts of the magi in the traditional Christmas story, could soon be no more. According to a recent study, Ethiopian frankincense trees are under severe threat from fire, grazing and attack by insects, and if these factors remain unchecked populations could decline by 90 percent within the next 50 years. The study monitored the survival, growth and seed production of more than 6,000 frankincense trees in the highlands of Ethiopia over a two-year span. Given current rates of burning, grazing and insect damage, frankincense production could be halved within just 15 years. “Current management of [frankincense tree] populations is clearly unsustainable,” said lead researcher Frans Bongers. “Our models show that within 50 years, populations [of the tree] will be decimated, and the declining populations mean frankincense production is doomed.”
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