What is Sisal
Sisal is a term which refers both to a species of agave native to Central America, and to the fiber which can be produced by this plant by processing its leaves. The fiber can be used for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from papermaking to textiles. Plantations for growing sisal can be found in many areas of the world, including Latin America and the Caribbean, and the plant has sometimes been fingered as a target for environmental degradation because native plants and forests may be removed to make way for a sisal plantation and processing plant.
The plant, known formally as Agave sisalana, has origins which are a bit uncertain. Several Central American cultures have a long history of growing and using sisal, making it difficult to determine where the plant first appeared, and how much human influence has contributed to the plant’s evolution. When European explorers reached the Americas, this plant was one of the many products they were introduced to.