Research Activies

The Working Plan and Research Wing has laid, over a period of last two to three decades a number of Permanent Preservation plots, Long term observation plots, species introduction trials and miscellaneous trials regarding various aspects of Silvicultural management. There is enormous amount of data generated from these plots which needs statistical analysis, each plot wise / species wise so as to decipher the trends in the species performance etc. Such an analysis at this point of time period, considering the long gestation period in forestry experiments, will be of immense technical and scientific help for the forestry management in the State.
         The wing has been able to establish, with the help of KFRI, an excellent facility for seed testing, grading and certification at Peechi and it is known by the name of Kerala Forest Seed Centre (KFSC). The KFSC has been processing, every year during the last 3-4 years, more than 10 MT of seeds of various forestry species and has been supplying them to the department for its planting needs without any cost. This way genetic and phenotypic quality of planting materials is ensured to be improved. However there is no agency to supply quality certified seeds of forestry tree species even though a demand exists for it. For this a proposal has been sent to Government to fix prices of the seeds of various species commonly handled at KFSC and after fixation of the price, it is proposed to sale the balance quantity of quality seeds (after the supply to Kerala Forest Department) to the public as well as various organizations requiring it within the State and outside. The sale of seeds this way will help in making KFSC self sustainable apart from providing quality certified planting materials to the common man as well as various organizations involved in planting of forestry tree species.
        A state level Medicinal Plants Seeds Centre with UNDP /GEF assistance through Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India and FRLHT (Foundation of Revitalization of Local Health Traditions), Bangalore is being setup at Peechi. The objective of the project is to ensure a permanent supply of high quality planting materials of medicinal plants of forestry importance. A medicinal plants high-tech seed storage facility in the campus of KFSC, Pee chi, and a central nursery for producing quality planting materials for public sale are to be established during 2007-08.  
Research wing is implementing four new projects in consultation with KFRI

a)Development of Model plantations of teak for improving productivity in different    agro-climatic zones of Kerala

The productivity of teak in Kerala has lowered because of the reasons, which include deterioration of site under 2nd and 3rd rotation of plantations due to repeated fires, heavy grazing, soil erosion etc., removal of nutrients by teak during its long rotation and absence of recycling of nutrients, poor quality of planting stocks, competition from weeds like mikenia, eupqtorium etc., delaying thinning due to financial constrains, improper site management and attack by teak defoliator etc.
This project is proposed to put together various scientific inputs available from various research studies and department experiences with the aim of giving best package of treatments to the teak plantations and to develop medal planting of teak in different agro¬climatic zones in the state in the process. The estimate the growth increment of teak plantations through high input management in the initial year of establishment viz-a-viz present management of teak and to develop improved set of management practices for establishing model teak plantations in different agro-climatic zones of Kerala are the objectives of this project.

b) "Carbon Storage potential of different age teak plantations in Kerala"

Enormous amounts of carbon are stored by trees and other plants, as well as in the forest soil. As part of photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere; store the carbon as sugar, starch and cellulose, while oxygen is released back into the atmosphere. A young forest, composed of rapidly growing trees, absorbs carbon dioxide and acts as a sink. Mature forests, made up of a mix of various aged trees as well as dead and decaying matter, may be carbon neutral above ground. In the soil, however, the gradual build up of slowly decaying organic matter will continue to accumulate carbon, thereby acting as a sink.
To measure root- to- shoot ratio, total biomass and tissue carbon concentrations, as well as litter production, undergrowth biomass and carbon storage, and soil carbon storage in teak plantations, to develop two nondestructive predictors of teak carbon storage and biomass (one for whole trees, the other for the root compartment), and to produce an estimate of the carbon storage potential of teak plantations of Kerala at harvest age are the main objectives of this project.

c) "Field trial of tree infusion technique to manage, misdetoe infestation in Teak plantations"

Mistletoes are woody angiospemic parasitic plants which infests trees. Infestation leads to both qualitative and quantitative damage eventually leading to the death of the host tree and has many times led to total failure of plantations.
To update the tree infusion technique developed by KFRI in 1984 by incorporating newer herbicides, to field test the technology in the Teak Seed Production Site at Nilambur and to arrest the spread of Trunk Borer infestation in the plot are the objectives of this project.

d) "Selection of species for Coast afforestation Models"

Coastal afforestaiton on massive and systematic scale has not been attempted in the state till recently due to population pressures and absence of coastal land under the jurisdiction of Kerala Forest Department. However in the wake of socio economic caused by Tsunami waves, 2 years ago the need for vegetational bio shield along the Kerala coast has been realized by local communities and as well as administrative. Structural solutions to beach erosion like protection of shore line properties from the hazards of sea storms may be expensive and often temporary or counter productive. The groins, sea walls, break waters and other popular protection structures often have complex and unanticipated secondary effects resulting in major down streams erosion and quite often, total loss of beach.

This project has therefore been conceived, so as to study the performance of different verities of Casurina equisetifolia, in pure strips as well as inter mixed crops with suitable native tree species.

Development of suitable species mixtures for coastal afforestation programmes in the state and selection of suitable verities of Casuarina equistifolia for coastal afforestation programmes in the state are the objectives of this project.

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