Grows best in undulating terrain in the moister lowland tropics, being found at elevations of 0 – 1,700 metres. It prefers an annual rainfall of 1,500 – 6,500 mm, a mean annual maximum temperature of 22 – 28c and a mean annual minimum temperature of 14 – 21c. Prefers heavy soils developed from gneiss and other metamorphic rocks, but it also grows well on sandy loams developed from sandstone.
Flowering and fruiting may start at an age of 4 – 5 years. Good seed years occur infrequently and a medium sized tree may then produce 1.5 kg seed. The best agarwood yields are from trees of 50 years age or more but resin is produced as early as 20 years.