It can be propagated through seeds

CASUARINA IS a multipurpose species grown in over 8 lakh hectares in India for fuel, poles and paper pulp. It is also preferred for eco-restoration plantings due to its nitrogen-fixing ability, wind hardiness and tolerance to drought and salinity.The Coimbatore based Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding is undertaking a comprehensive casuarina breeding programme. In last 10 years, Casuarina germplasm from about 40 locations in 15 countries were planted . The field experiments proved that Thailand casuarina variety showed faster growth than all other sources including those from India.

Better growth

Under rainfed conditions, 6-year-old Thailand trees recorded on average 17 m height and 45 cm girth compared with 11 m and 25 cm respectively for the local variety.The trees also retain a high wood density of 690 kg per cubic metre and yield on average 60 tonnes of wood per acre. If seeds from the best trees are used for planting then the yield can be increased to up to 80 tonnes per acre. . The Thailand variety will be an ideal candidate for the bio shield plantations proposed to be established along the coastline. It can easily be propagated through seeds using standard nursery practices.

Excellent fuel source

Timor casuarina is a new species introduced from Indonesia. It has faster growth rate than local Casuarina and produces 50 to 60 tonnes of wood per acre. It is a source of excellent fuel wood and is highly suited for drought prone areas.It is not affected by the wilt or blister bark disease which is a major problem in casuarina plantations. When a tree was cut at ground level it produced 3-6 vigorously growing coppice stems. . Propagation is through seeds and nearly 2 lakh seedlings can be produced from one kg of seeds.

A. NICODEMUS

Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding
Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu