The craze for using teak wood in furniture and other household articles and attack by diseases on the plantations, has resulted in the complete wipe-out of teak plants in States such as Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. However, one can turn to a tiny forest patch in Odisha’s Khurda district, for some hope.

The Chulijhinka Research Station (CRS) in Khurda forest division is nurturing teak plants for the revival of the species.

Gene pool

Two decades of dedicated research and care in this research station in the lap of the Barabara forest, famous for its teak plantation, has created a sort of gene pool of teak (Tectona grandis).

Teak stems, which were obtained from seven States – Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra -- have flourished magnificently and researchers are elated over the growth of the girth and canopy of the plants.

Besides, teak varieties from four different places such as Balugaon, Angul, Paralakhemundi and Dhenkanal have found their place in the station spread over 19 hectares of forestland.

Confident of good result

“The project was taken up with the objective to establish clonal seed orchard of teak. After two decades of research and care, we can claim with conviction that the station would be able to sustain any propagation in future,” said Biksash Das, Research Range Officer with the silviculture wing of State Forest and Environment Department.

The State Silviculture Centre has recently conducted assessment on growth of teak varieties of different States. The teak variety that was brought from Tamil Nadu has been growing luxuriantly while teak from Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are noticed to have substantial growth.

Significantly, when the project got under way in 1993, researchers had taken diligence to collect the genetically superior teaks of the respective States. In course of events, clonal propagation of teak through grafting was carried out successfully. At CRS between 1993 and 1998, grafting was carried out in 2,870 teak plants in the entire patch.

Timber mafia and thieves, who still have movements in Barabara forest despite deployment of a platoon of Central Reserve Police Force for protection of teak forest, do not even spare cloned species at the research centre.

Local forest dwellers and sources in forest department said recently a group of thieves had cut down a few plants.