SILVICULTURE AND FOREST MANAGEMENT DIVISION
Silviculture was one of the five branches to have been started at the initiation of forestry research at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun in 1906. The office of the Silviculturist was established as the medium by which the information on silvicultural aspects was disseminated to the State Forest Departments and other users all over India. The Silviculture branch made a massive contribution to generate a huge body of scientific information and mitigate several silvicultural problems in undivided India. Forestry research was reorganized after the formation of ICFRE in 1991 and the Division of Silviculture emerged from this reorganization. During 2017, the Resource Survey and Management Division merged into this Division and this unified body has since been rechristened as Silviculture and Forest Management Division. The Division now consists of the following disciplines: Experimental Silviculture; General Silviculture; Resource Survey and Management; Forest Tree Seed Laboratory; and Planting Stock Improvement Unit. The present Division therefore, encompasses the activities of these disciplines and has a focus on current silvicultural problems of north Indian states namely Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi.
The success achieved by the Division till date since the inception is given below: –
Experimental Silviculture: The entire New Forest estate was declared as reserved forest vide notifications dated 2.12.42 and 30.8.77. The estate covers an area of 500 ha (1,250 acres). The Experimental Silviculture discipline manages the entire reserved forest area in a systematic and scientific manner. It carried out works for the protection of the reserved forest and management of forest produce in FRI Campus, Kanwali Garden Campus, Centenary Nursery, Rangers College campus (City Section). The operations of felling, logging, debarking, transportation, collection and transportation of timber and firewood, extraction of dead, dry, dangerous, fallen, broken and leaning trees and bamboos, collection of honey and sale of fruit are carried out by the Range Office. It has played a key role in evolving of silvicultural systems and afforestation techniques in different regions of India. Nursery techniques of about 500 species were developed through research in this discipline. The discipline manages the Central Nursery of the Institute where plants of important plantation species are produced and sold to stakeholders, including the general public.
General Silviculture: The discipline of General Silviculture works on natural regeneration, working plan preparation, silvicultural interventions for different forest types, forest fire and assessment of nurseries and plantations. It developed improved techniques for resin tapping and bamboo management, It developed modern tools for controlling forest fires and developed silvicultural techniques for Joint Forest Management. It is studying the impact of ban on green felling in areas above 1000 m altitude. The disciplines maintains the Silviculture Museum which has a rich collection of specimens, photographs and other exhibits representing forest types, species, silvicultural systems, tools, practices, regeneration techniques, seeds, wildlife, etc.
Resource Survey & Management: Two of the oldest branches of FRI viz. Forest Economics and Forest Mensuration (both created in the year 1906) were amalgamated in 1987 to form Resource Survey and Management Division. The Resource Survey and Management Division became a discipline and further merged into Silviculture Division during 2017. The discipline has prepared volume tables, yield tables and weight tables and studies growth rates of several important forest species. Resource Survey and Management discipline is working to undertake client based projects particularly in the domain of forest crop measurement, GIS based forest inventorization, working plan formulation, growth assessment, compilation of district based indigenous knowledge on lesser known tree species, marketing of forest produce, etc.
Forest Tree Seed Laboratory: Forest Tree Seed Laboratory (FTSL) started its journey as Seed Testing Laboratory in the year 1962. In the year 1966, the laboratory was granted the status of an accredited station for tree seeds in India by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). The laboratory is devoted to studies on all aspects of forest tree seed problems, viz. seed collection, handling & processing, developing procedures for germination, techniques for breaking seed dormancy, testing viability & vigour, storage physiology & protocols and conservation of forest genetic resources. Considering wider scope of the laboratory the World Bank Consultants Dr. W.W. Elam and Dr. F.T. Bonner in their report recommended that the laboratory be re-designated as the Forest Tree Seed Laboratory (FTSL). Over the years, this laboratory has done pioneering work on tree seeds of tropical as well as temperate regions of India providing inputs for evolving procedures for the testing of seeds. The laboratory has also shared knowledge with other institutions with similar interests and has been largely responsible for creating infrastructure for tree seed research and testing in the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE) institutes, State Forest Departments and Agricultural Universities. As natural regeneration failure is a complex problem, in some of forestry species since long and allelopathy can influence forest succession, inhibit forestation and forest regeneration, so this laboratory is also carrying out allelopathic research for tackling regeneration problems of some of the temperate and subtropical species.
FTSL has taken a lot of new initiatives for the conservation of forest genetic resources and developed guidelines based on scientific principles for short, medium and long term storage of forest tree species, medicinal plants, tree-borne oilseeds and other multipurpose species. FTSL has also helped the state forest departments in their large-scale plantation activities under Greening Mission, by supplying quality seed of many forestry species.
Planting Stock Improvement Unit (PSIU): This discipline was created in 2005 to work for integrating plantation forestry and applied tree improvement. The unit carries out research in the field of vegetative propagation of difficult-to-propagate species, nursery technology of lesser-known tree species, plantation technology and evaluation of field performance of important trees. The unit has taken initiative to produce new clones of poplar and their field testing. The faculty also contributes to functioning of International Poplar Commission, FAO and National Poplar Commission of India. The unit recently evaluated field plantations of Punjab Forest Department and undertook surveys of medicinal plants in the market in states of Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Uttarakhand.
The Division has been actively conducting general and specialized short term training programmes on seed technology, nursery management, afforestation techniques, silviculture, disaster management, etc. for State Forest Departments, government departments, PSUs, farmers, NGOs, etc. It provides technical assistance to FRI (Deemed) University in education and research. The faculty is actively involved in teaching & research in master’s and doctoral programmes of FRI (Deemed) University with an objective to kindle knowledge and interest in the subject amongst students and scholars. It provides consultancy services to a diverse array of stakeholders on silvicultural issues. Under one such initiatives a DPR was prepared for forestry interventions of Ganga covering the entire route of the river and select tributaries on request of Ministry of Water Resources, Government of India.