Catching the smugglers of walla patta (Gyrinops walla) has become a frequent event in Sri Lanka and it has been given a huge publicity by both electronic and printed media. Even today, there was a news on Divaina (Island) paper about arresting a person carrying 28 kg of walla tree stems in Bibila area of the country. However, the facts given in most of such media articles are very much misleading and forcing the poor people to cut the trees for nothing.
Different media mentioned the price of walla kilogram with very lucrative prices. Today's news mentioned it as Rs. 80,000 (about USD 650). This figure can be true for the walla stems with full of Agarwood resins. For my two and half years research on all aspects of this species, I can guarantee that no walla trees can be found with full of resins in Sri Lanka. In the news, it may be a collection of many trees. However, due to the nature of resin formation, it has to be impossible to collect the "right trees" in large scale.
What valuable is the resin or the stem tissues with resin compounds and not just the walla trees. Please note that, walla trees do not naturally produce the resins in the stem. There are methods of enhancing the agarwood resin formation in walla trees and I am working on such methods at the moment. In addition, with the Ministry of Economic Development, the Sri Lanka government is stepping forward to promote growing this species in homegardens and as plantations under scientific guidelines for commercial use. Therefore I would like to make an appeal from the public to preserve the trees growing in the wild and homegardens and not to be mislead by the media.