Pulau Buru, or Buru Island, is the third largest mountainous island within Maluku Islands of Indonesia. Being in the Wallacean biogeographic zone, the island contains a mixture of Asian and Australian flora and fauna, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. The natural vegetation of Buru Island consists of tropical lowland evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests. The fire-resistant paperbark tree known as Melaleuca cajuputi is common and grows abundantly on the island.
Buru Island’s environment is still relatively intact and in good condition, thanks to minimal industrial activities and motor vehicle pollution. Moreover, it is covered with tropical rainforests and sparsely populated, which contribute to the island’s significantly low environment stress. As a result, Buru Island abounds with well-grown cajuput trees that produce excellent cineol-rich cajuput oil.
Buru Island locals obtain cajuputi oil by steam distillation, a process that takes several hours. As soon as the cajuputi leaves are delivered from the fields, they are steam-distilled. The oil from the distillation process is then further refined to reduce water content. One cycle of distillation normally requires up to 8 sacks of fresh cajuput leaves.
Local communities in Buru Island are encouraged and supported in planting and cultivating cajuput trees, which will help them run their cajuput oil home industry and sustain the production of cajuput oil. They are regularly given on-site trainings and knowledge sharing on improving cajuput cultivation and distillation processes in order to produce high-quality cajuput oil. Cajuput is usually cultivated by intercropping it with other agricultural crops such as corn, peanuts, and tubers, which also have economic value and thus, provide more income.