Northern Kenya is a vast area of harsh semi-desert, populated by nomadic pastoralists. This arid area is the habitat of the spiny Commiphora and Boswellia trees which exude aromatic resins from their stems. The harvesting of resins gives the pastoralists an alternative source of income to livestock husbandry. It has created an awareness of the value of this natural resource and with it a desire to protect the resin producing trees.
Many of the nomadic people have a long tradition of perfumery mixing resins with other aromatic woods to make incense. The resins ooze naturally from the bark of the trees, from cracks or insect activity.