The generous golden shrub!

Gold harvest by rural women
Gold harvest by rural women

Yes, there is a generous shrub that gives gold! Can you believe this? Do you want to know more about it? OK, we talk about the generous mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus) that generates money to rural women! The Money comes from the gold which exists within the fruits of the shrub. Difficult to assimilate? Don’t worry, I will explain!

Some years ago, there was a misunderstanding between rural women and the mastic tree. Women thought that the shrub refuse to give them enough gold to improve their living conditions. As a young forest researcher, I was invited to resolve this misunderstanding.

Women said that it was the responsibility of the shrub. But in the reality, it was women’s mistake! After the shrub provides its fruits, they used a traditional method to extract gold. This method was hard and gives a low yield, so women provide a lot of energy and get a small amount of gold. Poor women! Let’s help them to improve the extraction method. But how?

Science is the solution!

We conducted many experiments and it was a challenge to find the new method. After a rigorous work in the laboratory and in field with women, finally we found it! A new extraction method was conceived; it is more ergonomic and gives better yield of gold. Women, you will be able to get more gold without providing a lot of energy. You will improve your household income.

Right now, the relationship between rural women and mastic tree became stronger. Their philosophy is to protect the shrub which gives them gold and money. In my case, I am proud of my research that was able to help rural women to improve their working conditions and incomes and to solve their problem.

Sorry, I forget to tell you what this gold is! It is the precious fixed oil extracted from fruits which contribute to the income generation of forest households.

Written by: Faten Mezni
Affiliation: National Researches Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests
Country: Tunisia


This post is entry #10 in the #IUFRO2014 Blog Competition. The most popular entry will receive a certificate and 500 USD. The second and third most popular entries will receive a certificate and copy of the new book, “Forests and Globalization: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Development”.

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