The Forest Research Institute came into existence in 1906. Silviculture was one of the five research disciplines to have been started at the initiation of forestry research at the institute. With the beginning of organize forestry research in the country, the institute had six posts. Hobart Hampden and J.H. Lace held the post of first Imperial Silviculturist in 1906, who were also the Principals of the college. The work of Silviculturist was only confined to the compilation of information on the Working Plans in addition to his normal duties. The office of the Central Silviculturist was established as the medium by which the information on silvicultural subjects was, and even to this date, is disseminated to Forest Departments and other users all over India as well as abroad. The role of Silviculturist becomes of paramount importance in the institute. The Silviculture discipline has made various efforts to mitigate many of the problems through research. The Silviculture discipline has made various efforts to mitigate many of the problems through research. The notable instances of this discipline are as under.
R.S. Troup, who remained Silviculturist from 1909 to 1919, laid the foundation of systematic forestry research in the country. He had laid down the Sample as well as the Experimental plots in the different forest types of India for collection of growth statistics of the chief species in more or less even-aged crops.. He also carried out a series of experiments on artificial reproduction of economic species at experimental garden at Forest Research Institute. He started the maintenance of ledger files of important forestry species that are being consulted by the users till date. The chief landmark was the publication of three volumes of his monumental work “ Silviculture of Indian Trees” during 1921-22. These books contain valuable information on propagation and management of Indian species. The books help the forest officers, wood based industries and individuals to cultivate the forest tree with scientific methods.
The appointment of Provincial Silviculturists altered fundamentally the position and function of the Central Silviculturist at Forest Research Institute. Besides conducting Silviculture research, the Central Silviculturist had looked after the work of Ecology, Soil Science, Mensuration and Forest Influence The Central Silviculturist guided the State Silviculturists in technical matters, supplied them information found in his records, carried out statistical analysis of data etc.
S.H. Howard occupied the chair of Silviculturist from 1919 to 1925 and during his tenure research work was expanded in all directions. Special attention was paid to standardization of techniques of field research and analysis of statistical and sample plot data. To meet the urgent demands for statistics of growth, yield and outturn of important species, a number of stand and commercial volumes tables for Teak, Sal, Deodar, Blue pine, Sundri, Kanju, Gutel, Khair, Chir, Shisham were prepared and published in Indian Forest Records (Silviculture Series) These volumes tables are used by the State Forest Departments, private organizations and individuals to calculate yield and volume of the species in their regions. He introduced a “decimal system” of filing information on forestry.
Sir H.G. Champion succeeded Howard in 1926 and held the post for 11 years. The statistical work had by then been standardized. A new set of multiple yield tables for Cedrus deodara was prepared. He also prepared a provincial yield table for Quercus leucotrichophora. He also published “ Experimental manual” in 1931, as a companion volume to the new “statistical code” published at the same time. Another noteworthy task accomplished by Champion was regarding a preliminary classification of the main types of forests occurring in India (including the parts Burma and Pakistan). The outstanding publication on “A preliminary Survey of Forest Types of India & Burma” was made.
The first co-operative investigation on seed provenance was with teak from different origin of the country. Another collaborative experiment on bamboo was also started for proper management of bamboos. The artificial regeneration technique of teak was standardized. Studies on Silviculture and management of sal were also conducted.
M.V. Laurie (1936-40) succeeded Champion was himself succeeded by A.L. Griffith (1940-47). A.L.Grifith and Jagdamba Prasad have prepared and published three volumes of Silvicultural Research Codes in 1947. These Research Codes give the valuables information on the experimental designs, statistical calculations and tree crop measurements. These books are mostly use by the forest officers in their states and scientists of the institutes for lay out the experiments and calculate the results by the formulae and methods given therein.
In 1939, research on soil was started. The notable contributions of the early investigations were with regard to laterization relation to teak, characterization of sal soils in Uttar Pradesh, Casuarina soils and indices of mortality, long range study of agriculture lands in the fields was standardized and preliminaries were also made for soil erosion surveys. A number of silvicultural systems have been developed to regenerate the forest naturally and some of them viz. Shelterwood system, selection cum improvement system, coppice with reserves and coppice with standard has proved to be very promising.
Preservation plots were laid out in different forest types of India to conserve the existing biodiversity of the forests. Silviculture Division in collaboration with State Forest Departments maintained a total of 155 Preservation Plots of India. The scientists of Silviculture Division have visited in these Preservation Plots for collection of data on the enumeration & conditions of trees, ecological conditions of the sites, succession, insects, pests and diseases from time to time. The appropriate silvicultural technique was also adopted for the regeneration and for making forest hygiene. The file of each of the Preservation Plot was maintained.
In the post independence period there has unfortunately been quick succession of Silviculturists was done. Despite this lack of continuity in direction, steady progress has been maintained. A new Ecology Section was added in 1948. The augmentation of silvilcultural research was done during the Second Five Year Plan and schemes on Volume and Yield Tables, Co-ordination of Silvicultural research in States, Ecological studies in the forests of India, Ledger Filling and Documentation, Forest Influences and Forest Fire Protection were implemented. During the Third Five Year Plan the schemes of Seed Testing and Certification, special investigations (Resin Tapping & Bamboo Management), Aerial Photo- grammetry, Forest soils , Forest Economics, Ecology of wild life, Grazing and fodder research in dry zone afforestation techniques and experimental laboratories were added.
In 1957, for modernizing timber-harvesting operations, Logging Branch was also opened. This branch associated with Silviculture. Logging branch has developed various popular basic logging tools and mechanized equipments and was also conducting research on time and cost study. Periodically, it holds demonstration and trained forest personnel in logging operation.
The Forest Types of India, which was published by Champion, was revised and published by S.K.Seth in 1968. He classified the whole geography of India into sixteen Forest Types. This book helps to forest officers, scientists and scholars to find out the particular species from the particular forest types.
The forest area under scientific management has increased manifold and with the increasing demand for various categories of forest produce a host of new problems have come to the fore. This has resulted in a parallel increase in the problems, which this Branch has to tackle. There has been a sustained increase in the number of sample plots, preservation plots and sets of comparative thinning plots. All the long-term investigations are continuing satisfactorily and new ones have been added. Some of the old volume and yield tables have been revised and new ones for other species were prepared.
R.C. Ghosh has published an informative book on “A Hand book of Afforstation techniques” of important forestry species. Which is mainly based on the nursery and plantation technology of mostly Indian Trees species and published by F.R.I. (1977). This book is frequently referred by the forest officers of the states / Private planters and scientists to acquire the knowledge on the nursery techniques up to the planting sides of the important tree species. Testing and certifications of Indian tree seeds were standardized according the rules of ISTA by Madan Gopal (1968). This publication helps to the forest departments / privates organizations and individual to grow the seeds of the particular species according the rules given therein.
R.N. Kaul the Central Silviculturist in 1981 has conducted field trials to solve the problem of demand and supply of forest produce through introduction of exotics such as Eucalyptus, Poplars, Tropical pines, Leucaena leucocephala, Acacia spp., etc. Some of the species have increased the productivity of the site and are being widely used in wood based industries of the country.
In 1984, R.S. Mathur, Silviculturist has started IBPGR co-coordinated project on provenance trial of important dry zone species included Acacias and Casuarinas. The trials were conducted in the different Arid and Semi-arid zones of the country and the collected seeds from India were also sent to the poor and developing countries for further trials.
A.P. Dwevedi,1990 has published a noteworthy book on “Silviculture” . The book provides the various aspects of Silviculture on India’s forests and plantations.
Silviculture Division has worked out storage conditions for low viability seeds to site a few viability of Azadirachta indica, Shorea robusta, Michelia champaca, Terminalia myriocarpa, Syzygium cumini, and bamboos have been increased under suitable storage conditions. Seed testing rules for more than 95 species have been framed. Pre- treatment techniques for improving seed efficiency in nursery have been developed for many dormant seed producing species. A book titled “Tree Seed” has also been published. Nursery and planting techniques of 550 important commercial species of trees, shrubs and bamboos have been developed
The success achieved by the Silviculture Division after inception of ICFRE.
Forestry Research was reorganized after the formation of ICFRE in 1991. The Division of Silviculture emerged from this reorganization. The Silviculture Division now has Experimental Silviculture, General Silviculture, Seed Testing and Forest Operation Disciplines. The present Division therefore, encompasses the activities of these disciplines and has a much-sharpened focus on current Silvicultural problems of North Indian States of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. The success achieved by the Division till date since the inception of ICFRE is given below: -
The research on improvement on nursery techniques of various commercial species was carried out. Nursery techniques of the species such as Dalbergia sissoo, Bamboos, Tactona grandis and Quercus spp. have been improved after conducting series of experiments in the nursery.
Macro-proliferation techniques of different bamboo species were developed in the nursery for mass multiplication. Vegetative propagation techniques of ornamental bamboos viz., Bambusa vulgaris (green), B. vulgaris (yellow), B. wamin (pitcher) and Gigantochloa atter (kalabans) have been developed after planting nodal / binodal culm cuttings. Studies on Poplar improvement in India have been undertaken by P.K. Khullar, Head, Silviculture Division in 1995 tested different exotic poplar clones in various agro-climatic zones of the country, multiplication and selection of individual genotypes of different families and to study clonal testing control crosses and field trials of poplar clones. In these studies, the survey and selection of superior clones of Populus deltoides was done from U.P. forest experimental trials. About 53 contributions were made using 24 males and 14 females in control crosses. Sixty promising clones comprising selected clones and newly released clones of WIMCO, UP Forest Department and UHF, Solan were selected for multilocational field trials and plant material (cuttings) were supplied to all coordinating centres of the country. New species i.e. Populus illicifolia and Populus euphratica have been introduced. Poulownia fortunii an exotic species from China was introduced in various climatic conditions of North India.
Silviculture division is also engaged in the collection, extraction and processing of seeds of various forest tree species in and around New Forest Estate. The seeds are supplied in small to semi-bulk quantities mainly for introduction trials and research purposes. Seeds in bulk quantities have also been sent for meeting specific requirements of Forest Departments, NGOs, Farmers etc.
P.B. Gangophadaya in 1997 has studied the productivity of teak plantations with high inputs. The various private companies of India with public equity have raised the plantations of teak. These companies have invited large public investments on teak framing by projecting the future yield from their plantations. The study team of FRI has visited in various plantation’s companies of India. The growth data of their plantations and wood samples have been collected and the data have been analyzed. The report has been prepared and sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests for further action. G.S. Rawat, Head Silviculture Division in 2000, conducted a joint research experiment in collaboration with Non- Wood Forest Products Division of FRI for tapping of resin from Borehole method in Pinus roxburghii.. The results of the studies show that method is highly productive and the yield of the resin was 0.860-0.975 kg. per hole per season. A USDA coordinated project on “Studies of Himalayan Pines” was started in 1996-97. Under this project, studies were initiated on identification, selection, collection and testing of superior provenances of Pinus roxburghii from its distribution range. The pine cones from Himachal Pradesh, J & K and UP hills were collected. The physical characteristics of cones were studied and the seeds have been extracted from the cones of further studies.
Central Nursery has been developed in FRI Campus by installing all the modern facilities such as water purifier, buildings, green house, mist chamber, composting chamber etc. Researchers and Scientists of FRI utilize the nursery facilities.
Studies were carried out by R. K. Srivastava, Head, Silviculture Division in 2003 on bio-diversity assessment in chir pine forests of Uttaranchal under Joint Forest Management project. The subjective as well as objective and vegetation data in protected and un-protected forests were collected from the JFM villages of Uttaranchal. Bio-fertilizer (compost) was successfully prepared from the Parthenium hystrophus an obnoxious weed through Barley and Indore methods. Preparation of tools for fire protection has been started. He has developed a new approach through “Indian Forester” on preparation of CD-ROM of important commercial species. A website on important forestry journal “Indian Forester” was also developed which covered the information on various articles published in the journal. Studies on coordinated USDA pine project and DBT project on high oil yielding species have also been taken.
Silvicultural Conferences: Silviculture research in India is mainly guided by the recommendations of the periodic silvicultural conferences. Eleven such Conferences were held at Forest Research Institute. In the First Conference of 1918, detail of the methods of collecting growth statistics were discussed and computation work was standardized. The Second Conference in 1922 decided to introduce “Howard’s System of Ledger Filing “of forestry literature and regulated the working relation between the Central and State Silviculturists. The Third Conference (1929) discussed the methods of experimental research, the importance of seed origin, the problem of pure teak plantation and thinning research. At the Fourth Conference (1934) , artificial regeneration of crops , research methods for plantations and techniques plantation work were discussed. The Fifth Conference was held in 1939, stressed the need for cooperative research in several states. Six Conference (1945) was held to discussed the effects of second world war on Silviculture. The Seventh Conference (1946) dealt with organization of post war silvicultural research and many other problems. The Eighth Conference (1951), the first to be held after independence covered wide field of subjects. The Ninth Silvicultural conference was held in December 1956. It excelled the achievements of the previous conferences. The Tenth Silvicultural Conference was held in 1961. Almost all aspects of forestry were discussed in the conference. The Eleventh Silvicultural Conference was held in 1967. This conference laid emphasis on organization of forestry research at Forest Research Institute and in the central regional centers. Problems of Afforestation in different sites were also discussed.