Arid Forest Research Institute has been established since 1988 to cater the forestry research needs of the arid and semi arid region of Rajasthan, Gujarat & Dadar Nagar Haveli & Daman-Diu.
The institute is situated on Jodhpur_Pali Road (NH-65) in a beautiful campus spreading over 20.82 hectare area housing office buildings, laboratories, library cum information center, community center, guest house, scientist hostel and residential quarters.
Forestry research for conservation of biodiversity and enhancement of bio-productivity in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diuwith special emphasis on arid and semi-arid regions.
Core Research Areas:
1- To develop techniques for rain water harvesting in dry areas.
2- To develop technology for afforestation of stress sites.
3- Eco-stabilization of deserts with emphasis on sand dune fixation.
4- To develop techniques for production of high quality planting materials.
5- Provenance trials of important dry zone species.
6- Studies on bio-fertilizers and biopesticides.
7- Biodiversity and climate change.
8- Research on Non-Wood Forest Products of dry zones.
9- Tree improvement through tissue culture & genetic engineering.
10- To develop suitable agroforestry models for dry areas.
Rajasthan, Gujarat, Dadara & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
Key Achievements: (Click on link to view detail)
Rehabilitation of degraded hills: Some of the degraded hillocks of lower Aravalli range in Banswara district have been rehabilitated through adoption of rainwater harvesting (viz. contour trench, gradonie trench, box trench and V-ditch) and afforestation (mixed plantation). Application on RWH and afforestation improved soil characteristics like reduction in soil pH and EC, and increase in soil organic carbon, NO3-N and PO4-P and reduced the gradients in soil water and nutrients between different hill slopes (<10% to >20% slope ). This not only reduced run-off water, soil and nutrient losses; enhanced the growth of the planted seedlings but also increased herbaceous layer productivity by 24 to 62% (average of six years) and soil carbon stock (by 3.8-fold). Contour trench and Box trench were beneficial in plant growth, whereas gradonie and V-ditch treatments were best for herbaceous growth and productivity. The impact of this practice was seen as an increase in number of species from 39 in 2005 to 92 in 2009, increased water availability period from November to January/ March in wells down the slope, fuel wood supply and fodder availability that resulted in enhanced socioeconomic condition of the tribal people residing nearby areas. RWH and afforestation facilitated regeneration of historically indigenous species thus helped restoring the degraded hills
Salt Land Rehabilitation: Suitably selected species with improved planting techniques and fertilizer amendments has resulted in increase in organic matter, decrease in pH and conductivity of soils and increase in biodiversity of a salt land at Gangani village in Jodhpur district. Use of Gypsum (100% soil gypsum requirement), farmyard manure (FYM) and nitrogen enhanced growth (30-70%) of all plant species. FYM + Wheat husk amendment was best for black salt affected soil in Gujarat.
Application of FYM improved the nutrient availability and growth of Salvadora persica. Addition of inorganic fertilizers is also necessary due to soil fertility depletion. Over all best treatments for plant growth and fruit yield was addition of FYM+SSP+K2SO4 and FYM+SSP+K2SO4 + Urea + ZnSO4. Phosphorus application was found as the most effective treatment. In deficient monsoon year, treatments with Zinc performed better. In case of Acacia ampliceps, combination of FYM with other fertilizers produced better results. Urea application was most effective; urea alone produced maximum height increment (49.2%), while urea+ FYM enhanced the crown diameter to maximum value. Overall seed yield per tree was same, i.e. 31-32g/tree in all treatments, but Zinc application influenced seed size.
Nitrogen fixing species for soil improvement: Growing leguminous species like Crotalaria burhia, Clitoria ternatea, Mimosa hamata, Mucuna prurience were found to enhance soil fertility status and microbiological activity, i.e. increased activities of acid and alkaline phosphatase and dehydrogenase enzymes. There was 1.2 to 3.0-fold increase in enzymes activities, soil NO3 –N, NH4 –N, PO4-P and soil organic carbon status. These species can be utilized to enhance fertility status of degraded lands prior to afforestation or agricultural activities.
Lysimetric studies of biodrainage species: Biomass and water use of Eucalyptus camaldulensis was compared with Acacia nilotica and Tamarix aphylla under different levels of water logging (at 50 cm and 100 cm below soil depth) and salinity (0, 12 and 24 dSm-1) in lysimeters. Average daily water use by E. camaldeulensis was 29-61 litre per plant in non saline waterlogging at 100 cm soil depth and 26-38 litre in non saline waterlogging at 50 cm soil depth in different months. With increase in salinity, water use decreased to 5-12 litre per plant. In A. nilotica average daily water use was lower (20 to 38 litre per day) than E. camaldulensis but higher than T. aphylla (12-36 litre per day per plant) under non saline waterlogging at 100 cm soil depth. However under non saline waterlogging at 50 cm soil depth it was high (46-63 litre per day per plant) in A. nilotica, followed by E. camaldulensis and T. aphylla (9-25 litre per day per plant). Water use in A. nilotica and T. aphylla was 13-23 litre and 5-16 litre per day per plant respectively, under saline waterlogging condition. Treatments of salinity had greater negative impact on biomass accumulation in E. camaldulensis, followed by A. nilotica and T. aphylla. Above ground dry biomass was high in A. nilotica followed by E. camaldulensis and T. aphylla. A. nilotica may be better choice over E. camaldulensis and T. aphylla by virtue of greater water use and above ground biomass. However, E. camaldulensis may be better option considering carbon sequestration aspect because of high total biomass under non saline waterlogging condition. Native species Acacia nilotica and Tamarix aphylla showed higher tolerance to salinity compared to E. camaldulensis and may be a better option for planting in waterlogged areas with higher salinity (8- 10 dSm-1).
Forest Soils of Rajasthan: Forest soils of Rajasthan have been characterized and classified based on sampling at 541 forest blocks. A large number of soil profiles (232 sites, 42.9%) have Lithic contact at shallow soil depth. Soils of 47.7% sites were characterized as skeletal (having >35% gravels or rock fragments). According to index of soil fertility (GoI, 2011), 58% soils were low and 34.7% were medium in PO4-P content leaving only 7.3% samples with high PO4-P. Soils were low in available nitrogen. About 65% soils were medium to high in available K and 35% were low in available K. Soils of Chittorgarh, Alwar, Dholpur, Jaipur, Sikar, Jhunjhunu and Hanumangarh forests showed high available K content. Soil organic carbon stock varied between 237.7 Mg (Mg = 106 g) in Sagbari block, Banswara with 150 cm soil depth and 0.546 Mg in Runawasa (hill top) block, Sikar district with 15 cm soil depth. High SOC stock was in Banswara, Alwar, Kota, Udaipur, Baran and Churu districts, whereas it was very low in the soils of Barmer, Sikar and Ajmer districts. Forests soils of Rajasthan have been classified into 5 orders (viz. Inceptisols, Entisols, Aridisols, Alfisols and Vertisols), 9 sub orders (Psamments, Ustepts, Orthents, Ustalfs, Salids, calcids, Cambids, Gypsids and Ustarts), 14 Great groups and 37 Subgroups. Inceptisols have been dominantly observed in 67.65% forest sites. This was followed by Entisols, Alfisols, Aridisols covering 19.60, 7.76 and 4.44% of the study sites respectively. Vertisols represented only 0.55% sites.
Carbon stock, vegetation and soil mapping for Rajasthan forests: We have studied about 15 % forest blocks of Rajasthan and generated valuable information on types of forests, site characteristics, vegetation diversity and composition, carbon stock in five major components of forest, regeneration status, drainage characteristics, erosion, and soil physical and chemical parameters. This huge database has been presented in the form of project completion reports. However, to make this information easily available to different agencies in a very user friendly manner it was required to present them in the form of digitized maps of various kinds. With this aim the project on mapping was initiated so that the users can click on the studied forest blocks to know the vegetation composition, carbon stock, soil type, nutrient status etc. for the reference year/period.
District wise digitized maps have been prepared on Geographic Information System (GIS) platform and the database has been linked with the study points. Users can visualize different parameters on site, vegetation and soil with relevant photographs of soil profile and vegetation. Carbon stock and soil characterization maps of Rajasthan forests have been developed separately.
The maps generated on the basis of primary data on forest soils and carbon stock will serve as source for baseline information in the present climate change scenario. Digitized maps on Forest carbon stock, Forest soil types and Forest soil nutrient status of Rajasthan is a pioneering work in the state. The maps developed will be useful to the researchers, forest managers and policy makers and also help to formulate appropriate management strategy for forests of Rajasthan. The maps are available in soft copy and can be viewed in any PC using ‘Google Earth’.
Wastewater utilizations: An experiment was conducted with four levels of irrigation namely i) normal water at 0.5 ET (Control), ii) effluent water at 0.5 ET, iii) effluent water at 0.75 ET and effluent water at 1.00 ET and seven tree species viz. Azadirachta indica, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Prosopis cineraria, Porsopis juliflora, Salvadora oleoides, Slavadora persica and Tamarix aphylla in non-weighing type of lysimeter tanks. There were significant differences in height, collar diameter and crown diameter of different species. Eucalyptus camaldulensis exhibited 441 cm height, followed by A. indica 387 cm, P. juliflora 335 cm, S. persica 214 cm, T. aphylla 200 cm, P. cineraria 190 cm and S. oleoides 155 cm. Similarly, with respect to collar diameter Azadirachta indica (68 mm) outperformed other species followed by P. juliflora 56 mm. Salvadora oleoides exhibited lowest collar diameter. Seedling of Acacia nilotica, Ailanthus excelsa, Azadirachta indica, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Prosopis cineraria, Prosopis juliflora, Tamarix aphylla, Tecomella undulata, Salvadora oleoides and S. persica were also planted in field and irrigated with effluent water at ½ ET (evapotranspiration) and ¾ ET and bore well water as control at 1/2 ET and 3/4 ET. Application of effluent was observed to be beneficial in enhancing growth and biomass of most of the species
Agroforestry Models: Hardwickia binata and Colophospermum mopanetrees based agroforestry was evaluated with four treatments viz. intact tree (T1), lopped tree up to 70% of total height (T2), root barrier treatment (T3) and both lopped tree and root barrier treatment (T4). Yield of Cyamopsis tetragonoloba and Cenchrus ciliaris was significantly high as sole crop (control) in comparison to the yield of the crop/grass in combination with H. binata and C. mopane respectively. Yield was highest in lopped tree with root barrier (T4), but lowest yields were under unlopped trees in the both tree species. Light penetration was lowest in T1 treatment in H. binata tree. Yield, light intensity and soil water content increased with distance from tree trunk. Soil water was higher in T4 than in T1 treatment in C. ciliaris grass with C. mopane trees plots. Tree root density did not differ among the treatments in both the species. Value of SOC was 8.1% higher under H. binata system than sole crop plots, whereas it was 10.6% higher under C. mopane than in C. ciliaris grass plots. SOC was higher in 0-25 cm soil layer and decreased downward. Soil nitrogen content was low in T4 and sole plot of C. tetragonoloba with H. binata. NO3-N and NH4-N availability was greater under unlopped trees than under lopped trees. Availability of soil NO3-N NH4-N and PO4-P was highest in top soil layer and decreased in deeper soil layers. Higher availability of NO3-N and NH4-N under H. binata as compared to the soils of C. mopane indicates that H. binata is more favourable species in enhancing soil nutrients.
On a farmer field, P. cineraria recorded maximum survival and growth out of five species tried (Ailanthus excelsa, Colophospermum mopane, Cordia myxa, Prosopis cineraria, and Zizyphus mauritiana) at 6 years age. Height and collar dia. of C. mopane and P. cineraria and collar diameter of C. myxa were significantly higher in agroforestry plot than without crop plot. Integration of Z. mauritiana +P. cineraria with wheat crop was best for the agroforestry and was found less competitive than any other horti-silvi combination. Wheat crop yield reduced significantly when integrated with C. mopane + C. mixa combination at the age of fifth year. Thus, this combination may be avoided. Wheat crop yield was 19 % less under C. mopane + C. mixa compared with Z. mauritiana +P. cineraria combination. Z. mauritiana +P. cineraria are more beneficial in term of fruit, fodder and fuel wood value, if a farmer wants to integrate Z. mauritiana +P. cineraria in the agriculture field. Combination of P. cineraria and Z. mauritiana showed synergistic effect on the wheat crop yield and exhibited the highest B:C ratio (1.4) as compared to sole crop. This model provided additional benefit of Rs. 7184 ha-1 at age of 6 year.
Production of fodder was 0.20 tones ha-1 from P. cineraria and 0.07 tones ha-1 from A. excelsa and 0.53 tones ha-1 from C. mopane at 6 year of age. SOC was higher by 8% in top layer and by 13% in lower layer in agroforestry plots compared to the respective soil layers in the control plot. Thus agroforestry is more beneficial than sole agricultural crop in term of carbon benefits too.
Volume (V) equations have been developed for Prosopis cineraria and Ailanthus excelsa in Rajasthan and Tectona grandis in Gujarat involving both diameter at breast height (D) and total tree height (H). Tree equations for over bark and under-bark wood volume as well as merchantable wood volume for P. cineraria (Khejri) and A. excelsa (Ardu) followed linear models like: V = a + bD + cD2 + dD2H. Foliage production equations of Prosopis cineraria were also derived that followed different patterns when height, D and crown and a combination of these three variables were involved. Likewise volume equations for Tectona grandis of Gujarat were developed that followed the equation like V = a + b*D2H. Different linear and nonlinear equations (common) have also been developed for estimating aboveground and belowground biomass and carbon accounting using diameter at breast height (dbh) for trees, collar diameter for shrubs, under shrubs and tree saplings, and crown diameter for Euphorbia spp.
Study on forest fringe villages: Information on forest dependency and socio-economic conditions of local people were collected to assess the root causes of destabilization and shrinkage of forest land. Socio-economic survey and vegetation studies in 1008 forest fringe villages were done in Jamnagar, Junagarh, Panchmahal, Surat, Vadodra, Valsad, Dahod, Kuchh, Narmada, Sabarkantha Banaskantha and the Dangs districts in Gujarat; and Jhalawar, Kota, Banswara, Udaipur Dholpur, Pali, Kota, Sirohi, Jaipur, Bundi and Baran districts in Rajasthan. Forests of Banaskantha and Sabarkantha districts were dominated by Teak with importance value index (IVI) of 25.6 and associated species were B. monosperma, A. catechu, P. juliflora, T. grandis, H. integrifolia, A. indica, D. melanoxylon, S. cumini, A. nilotica, M. parviflora, Terminalia tomentosa, Anogeissus latifolia, Lagerstroemia parviflora etc. Continuous hacking, clearing for cultivation, uncontrolled grazing and repeated fires have affected natural regeneration of Teak, but Diospyros melanoxylon, Anogeissus latifolia, Butea monosperma and Lagerstroemia parviflora showed better regeneration. Cassia tora and Lantana camara dominated (81.2% and 80.3%) in Junagadh district. Majority of population in these areas are tribal dominated by Bheel and Garasia that have marginal or small land holdings. Farmers mostly depend on rain-fed kharif crops in these areas.
Assessment of demand and Supply of Medicinal Plants: Information from rural house holders, folk healers, Forest Divisions & Ranges and check posts, Raw Drug Markets, farmers involved in medicinal plants cultivation and herbal units in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Goa were collected to assess demand and supply of important medicinal plants. The information on Ghritkumari (Aloe vera), Arandi (Ricinus communis), Isabgol (Plantago ovata), (Lawsonia inermis), Awal (Cassia auriculata), Aswagandha (Withania somnifera) and Guargum (Cymopopsis tetragonoloba) collected and compiled. Maximum numbers of trading units are observed in Badodra, Ahemdabad, Gandhinagar and Junagarch in Gujarat and Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur and Ajmer in Rajasthan. About 10 traders are trading 227 medicinal plant species annually. According to Ayurveda Department of Rajasthan State Rasayansala, total annual requirement is 26436 kg in Ajmer, 14215 kg in Jodhpur, 21157 kg in Udaipur and 12907 kg in Bhratapur district.
Phyto-chemical evaluation of food plants: Nutritional evaluations of eight lesser known wild edible plant species from Rajasthan have been carried out for their improved utilization. Leptadenia pyrotechnica pods and Cassia tora leaves had highest amount of protein viz. 17.95 % and 16.9% respectively, Grewia tenax and Cordia gharaf fruits were rich in sugar (28.5 % and 17.63%, respectively). Ceropegea bulbosa and Haloxylon salicornicum are rich source of minerals. Ceropegia bulbosa and Haloxylon salicornicum are especially rich in minerals viz. Iron, Zinc, Potassium, Magnesium. Vitamin C content is high in almost all the species with Leptadenia reticulata pods having highest content (15-17.2 mg/100gm). All the selected species were rich sources of dietary fibre. Flowers of Calligonum polygonoides and pods of Leptadenia pyrotechnica showed maximum antioxidant activity of 81.10-93.08% and 80.11-90.34%. Preservation in the form of various value added products viz. pickle, Murabba, squash, dehydrated juice of Cordia gharaf fruits, Grewia tenax fruits, and Leptadenia reticulata pods has been done. Seedlings of Cassia tora, Cordia gharaf, Leptadenia pyrotechnica, Calligonum polygonoides, Ceropegia bulbosa, Haloxylon salicornicum were planted in the AFRI nursery for their conservation.
Enhanced gum production from arid zone flora: Non destructive method of gum Guggul harvesting developed where plant mortality has been reduced significantly with controlled gum production under use of Ethephon and increment borer ensuring minimum injury to the plant. This method will encourage the farmers to cultivate Guggul as yield of Guggulsterone can be enhanced by ethyl acetate extraction of the small twigs of ethephon treated plants as well as increased number of tapping. On the farm bund, we can plant the shrubs at a distance of 3x3 m2. If extending the same it will lead to 1111.0 plants /ha. Assuming 50 g/shrub/year as gum yield it will provide nearly 56 kg gum yield /ha. If the market cost is Rs. 800/kg it will provide approx. Rs. 44,000/year to the farmers. However, it is advisable to provide a break between two tappings. And if we use 550 plants for tapping it will give 27.5 Kg and no break as remaining plants can be tapped next year.
Silvi-pastoral systems for optimal utilization of wastelands: In Rajasthan large area (0.38 mha) suffers from problems of salinity and alkalinity and its rehabilitation through bio-corrective measures is required to make effective use for providing agricultural sustainability and resilience against climate change. There are very few glycophytic plant species, which can perform on arid salty areas. Our research conducted on loamy sand saline alkali soil in hot arid part of Rajasthan, India during 2003-08 revealed that exotic glycophytic tree species Colophospermum mopane proved to be ideal species maintaining high survival (89 % ) and growth after five years of establishment; and it was the only species where roots penetrated the CaCO3 nodulated kanker pan further enhancing its utility. Substantial site improvement, reduction in soil pH and electrical conductivity and improvement in organic carbon content was also observed during the study period. Despite being exotic, it did not suppress the growth of indigenous salt tolerant grasses mainly Sporobolous diander, Chloris virgata and Dactyloctenium sindicum, D. aegyptium but their palatability is low. Hence, the investigation was undertaken to introduce non salt tolerant but highly palatable grass species Cenchrus ciliaris and evaluate its growth and yield with other grasses in the inter row spaces with C. mopane available at a spacing of 3 X 4 m. There were six blocks of 9 plants in three replications. Thus there were 18 blocks of 9 trees between which soil was raised as mound of 3ʹx4ʹx 0.8ʹ size referred as soil structure. Seed sowing of C. ciliaris (CAZRI 75) was done on soil slope in inter-row spaces of C. mopane in 2013. Seed sowing was done at 30 cm distance in the lines 40 cm apart from each other on soil structures. Green grass yield for C. ciliaris was measured by laying quadrate of 1x1 m randomly on soil structures; while for other grasses quadrates were laid out in vicinity of trees in the experimental area.
Growth and yield data of various grasses with C. mopane revealed that maximum green fodder yield was obtained in S. diander (471-720g/m2) while the minimum in Brachiaria ramosa (130- 205 g/m2 ). The most significant finding is the fact that C. ciliaris (highly palatable grass) could be established on soil slope in the inter row spaces of C. mopane plantation to convert it in to a silvipastoral system. Generally, C. ciliaris does not grow and establish on salt affected soils (Anon 1980). The Growth of C. ciliaris was in the medium range (130- 208 g/m2) as compared to performance of other grasses (less palatable). Cyperus spp. is a sedge (cyperaceae) and very highly palatable. The palatability range is C. ciliaris> Brachiaria ramosa> Dactyloctenium sindicum >D. agypticum> Sporobolus diander >Chloris virgata.
Enhancing fruit yield in Capparis decidua: C. deciduas (Kair), a much branched spiny shrub or small tree, may grow up to 4-5m. Its branches are tender and waxy. The bark is rough, corky, and gray. The shrub, bereft of leaves, looks quite conspicuous when covered with red flowers. It bears fruits of 1.3-1.8 cm diameter, round, fleshy, pink or red when ripe. Kair can survive in various habitats under extreme condition of temperature of arid region with good soil binding capacity. It is found in whole of the Rajasthan, except the high rainfall zone of Kota, Banswara, and Jhalawad. Even though, it produces leaves, flowers and fruits 2-3 times in year, the peak flowering occurs in the summer months. It is the most important indigenous NTFP yielding shrub species, its fruit yield supplementary income to the rural people as pickles (value added product) with very high demand. The market rates collected from Jodhpur during 1995-2011, are continuously raising from 80-100 Rs /Kg in 1995 to Rs300-350 /Kg in 2011 and Rs 800-1000 /Kg in 2017 respectively. The rate increases with decrease in size of fruits. However, they are mainly collected from the wild with no effort for its domestication. Naturally growing Capparis decidua shrubs were treated with leaf compost, goat FYM and VAM in combination of different nitrogenous, phosphorus, potassium and micro-nutrients fertilizers along with moisture conservation measures to study the impact on fruit yield at two sites viz. Gogelao beed Nagaur and Khari Khurd Luni Jodhpur. Leaf Compost Manure: Periodic observations revealed that in one year three times flowering and fruiting was observed in the kair plants in the year . Three years cumulative data pooling revealed that T4 ( LCM, P, K and Zn) is the best treatment recording almost 100% fruiting shrubs in all the three seasons in all the three years(fig.1). It resulted in maximum total fruit yield per season for T4 treatment which is 10.2 times more (796.32 g to 78.01 g))than control in April , 2.24 times more in July (800.2 g to 35.71 g) and almost 100times more in October ( 1790 .7 g to 71.7 g). Total fruit yield was high in October than April indicating the positive influence of moisture conservation (fig. 2). However for the per shrub yield the difference between T4 and control was 5.32 times in April, 5.15 times in July and 5.98 times in October(fig.3). T5(LCM, NPK) is second best treatment followed by T1 (LCM, P, K).
Goat Manure: Three years cumulative data pulling revealed that T4(GM,P,K) is the best treatment recording more than 80% fruiting shrubs in all the three seasons followed by T1(GM, K) with more than 70% fruiting shrubs in July & October. April was less due to poor recovery after frost damage in Dec. 13. Total maximum mean treatment fruit yield was also in T4 for April(841.89) & July(664.09) however for October maximum yield for T1 (GM+K) 756.6g.However per plant yield was maximum for T4 in April 175.5 g/plant but in July and October it was T1 163.63 g/plant and 243 g/plant respectively
VAM : Three times flowering and fruiting is observed in VAM inoculated shrubs also. The maximum % fruiting shrubs were observed in October in all the treatments except T1 treatment followed by April and minimum in July Fig 1. Treatment wise lot of variation is observed T2 recorded maximum in April, T3 in July and T4 in October. Overall total fruit yield wise T1(V+NPK) with 463g, T2 (V=P1) 436 g and T4 (V only) 432.5 g are nearly equal in performance Season wise October yield is significantly high for all the treatments ranging from 595.7 g in T4 to 448.7 g in control however T2 is almost equal to control. Probably high moisture availability due to moisture trenches may be the reason. April is at second place ranging from 634 g in T2 to 77.11 g in control. July was at third place with 470 g in T1 to 103 g in control.
However total per plant yield was maximum for T1 treatment (V+NPK) in all the three seasons followed by T4 treatment. Thus though overall fruiting shrubs were less in T1 but their per plant fruiting efficiency is high followed by T4 treatment. In VAM block 54.3 % fruited 3 times, 20%plants fruited 2 times and 11.4% plants fruited only 1 time. There were 14.3 plants which did not fruit. Most no fruit plants are in T1 (NPK+ VAM) Treatment.
Studies on post harvest technologies of Azadirachta indica and Acacia senegal–as alternative timber species for handicraft industries. AFRI-14/NWFP/Ext(DST)/ 2014-17: The desert state of Rajasthan is well known for its woodwork. The Jodhpur wooden furniture has been always in great demand across India and outside during last two and half decades. The problem faced by the industry was highlighted in RAG meetings regarding short supply of traditionally used wood species and requested AFRI to take up work on alternative wood for handicraft manufacture. Wood from three species viz. Acacia tortilis, Prosopis cineraria and Prosopis juliflora treated with combination of preservative chemicals Chromated copper Arsenate (CCA) and chloropyriphos in June 2004. Value added product like sofa set, utility box and pen/pencil stand are showing resistance to insect pest and termites till September 2017, indicating their potential for use in handicraft industry. In continuation to that, work on Azadirachta india (Neem) and Acacia senegal (Kumath), which are important but underutilized tree species of arid region, was initiated in 2014 with alternative treatments due to problems with CCA treatment. Sawn Wood of both the species was treated with industrial method- a synthetic Biflex Tc used as chemical preservative by Sun Art Export Jodhpur and - A complex mixture of Copper sulphate, potassium dichromate and Prosopis juliflora bark extract which was prepared at the laboratory by using IWST Bangalore method at 2.5% dilution with water. After treatment seasoning with standard method of wood was done at Sun Art Export Jodhpur.
Value added products with carving were prepared. Coffee table (with chip carving ) from A.indica wood and Photo frames with carving (Hand tools i.e. fishtail gouges, a v-parting tool, straight gouges, spoon gouges, and a carvers mallet) from A. senegal wood were prepared. and further article preparation with Biflex TC treated wood is under progress.Identification of alternate tree species as source of wood for making handicrafts in arid region to reduce the cost by using unutilized/plantation grown wood and improve the life of wood by simple chemical/preservative treatments and thus offering the handicraft industry more options.
Potentials of Sandal Cultivation: Survey of Sandal population in south and eastern Rajasthan in 2003-04 indicates presence of natural stands of sandal with good potential. It was found that population of sandal depleted, but some stands still exist in Haldighati forest of Nathdwara (Udaipur) range and Bhavarmata block in Pratapgarh range. Core samples were analyzed for heartwood and oil content collected during the survey in Rajasthan state. Heartwood and oil content (ranging from 0.9-3%) varies with place and age.
Enhancing productivity of saline wastelands in Kachchh, through improved tree planting techniques and silvipastoral study (SFD funded project, 2006-12): The Little Rann (5,300 sq km/2,045 sq mile) is a flat, saline waste having extensive saline mudflats, lies in the hinterland of the Kathiawar peninsula between the gulfs of Kachchh and Khambat in Gujarat state. Much of the Little Rann is a wild ass sanctuary (WAS). Prosopis juliflora has invaded suitable areas of WAS. Research trials were laid on black silty clay (medium), soil depth: 40-75 cm at Kordha, Sami Range in Patan, Gujarat at the fringe of WAS in July 2007 to find out suitable exotic and indigenous fodder plant species with appropriate planting practice.
S. persica proved to be best plant with 83.7% mean survival after 50 months the extemely harsh conditions of high salinity, heat stress after two consecutive summers (2009 &2010) and one drought year (2009) and eratic monsoon after wards. Treatments improved the growth height, crown and collar diameter after 50 months (T5(FYM+Urea) was the best tratment ataining maximum growth and above ground green biomass as 2.5 kg/tree in control to 7.1 kg/tree in T5 treatment.
A. bivenosa was at second place surviving two consecutive summer and one drought year with 46.3 % survival at 36 months . Treatment influenced the biomass yield and all the treatments recorded higher biomass (Fig-3) as compared to control (3.43 Kg). Maximum 12.68 kg biomass yield is obtained for T3 (Wheat straw) treatment followed by 10.22 kg for T2 (FYM) treatment.
Results after 50 months indicate that S. persica, A. bivenosa and A. ampliceps have the potential to revegetate the bare highly saline black silty soils. They maintain good survival, attained significantly higher growth than sandy soils. Management practices enhanced the growth of all the three species. A. ampliceps and A. bivenosa flowers and produced viable seed within a year while on sandy soil they took three to five years. S. persica also flowers and produced fruits in second year. Plantation activities has improved the soil conditions and reduction in pH and EC and improvement in percent SOC is observed inside the plantation area.
Thus it can be concluded that S. persica is the best plant with maximum survival but due to halophytic nature its fodder acceptability is less. However, A. ampliceps and A. bivenosa can be introduced in Wild Ass sanctuary and with management practices will enhance fodder yield
Trials with four tree species, namely, Cordia gharaf, Prosopis cineraria, Ziziphus. mauritiana and Colophospermum mopane and three grass species, namely, Cenchus ciliaris, and C. cetigerus were laid in RBD in three replication at Mochirai, Bhuj in July 06. The results suggested that scattered grass sowing is better for shallow depth soil compared to dense sowing for plant survival. It promoted tree growth due to better moisture availability and dense grass sowing adversely affected the tree growth. Results indicate that biomass yield was higher for both the species in with grass treatment. It was 4.5 kg to 1.9 kg for Z. mauritiana and 8.0 kg to 4.8 kg in C. gharaf for scattered and dense grass sowing respectively at 38 months. However grass yield was drastically less in scattered manner.
Overall C. gharaf: C. ciliaris was the best silvipastoral system followed by Z. maritiana: C. ciliaris from tree point of view and C. gharaf : C. setigerus from grass point of view. Among grass species C. cilaris was the best very closely followed by C. setigerus. D. annulatum took time for establishment but spread fast after establishment. Rainfall influenced the grass yield and in a well distributed monsoon year C. ciliaris recorded 1.94 kg m-2 yield followed by C. setigerus 1.51 kg m-2. Among tree species C. gharaf was the best producing maximum biomass on shallow and medium soil depths followed by Z. mauritiana. On shallow soil Z. mauritiana required regular pruning otherwise well grown trees fall.Growth of P. cineraria was influenced by soil depth. Its growth was slow in medium soil and poor in shallow soil. It performed only on good soil depth producing 6.1 to 17 kg with an average of 11.1 kg while the dry yield ranged from 3.2 to 8.9 kg with an average of 5.9 kg as compared to (4.40 & 2.39 kg tree-1 in control to 2.64 & 1.44 kg tree-1 in with grass treatment) at 64 months of age in experiment 2 with medium soil depth. C. mopane did not performed in the given site conditions Z. mauritiana flowered and fruited after one year of growth but C. gharaf and P. cineraria did not flower during the experimental period.
Improved rural livelihood: For improved utilization of Prosopis cineraria and Capparis decidua (ker) fruits size-based grading of ker fruits using custom fabricated sieves was done. Storage methods were preservation in refrigerator, deep freezer (-22° C), light salting, light brine and in vinegar to enhance their utilization.
Quantification of NTFP collection and selling by the tribals of different villages in Abu Road area of Sirohi district in Rajasthan have been carried out. The key NTFPs playing significant role in tribal livelihood are fruits of Tamarindus indica (49.25 kg /annum), Pithecellobium dulce (36.12 kg /annum), Momordica dioica (29.31 kg /annum), Annona squamosa (14.20 kg /annum), Diospyros melanoxylon (14.08 kg /annum), Syzygium cummini (13.48 kg /annum), Phoenix dactylifera fruits (12.37 kg /annum) and seeds of Pongamia pinnata (13.18 kg /annum), and Jatropha curcus (10.14 kg /annum. Role of Neem products in rural livelihood were assessed in 103 villages in Pali and 25 villages in Mehsana districts. The findings reveal that Neem leaves collection is a seasonal activity in Pali District that provides employment for about 3-4 months (November-February) both for neem leave collectors and the herbal industries, whereas for rest of the year they are compelled to switch over to another employment opportunities. It was observed that people are least interested in collection of Neem fruit and it's processing rather than working in MNREGA or other Govt. programme for ensured return.
Biological diversity in Barmer and Jalore district: Vegetation diversity assessment in Rajasthan Hydrocarbon Project Area (Cairns Energy) in Barmer showed availability of 15 tree species, 17 shrub species, 82 herb species and 30 grasses/ sedges species. Some of these are in threatened and endangered category distributed in different habitats.
Rock-Soil- Vegetation relations:While studying rock soil vegetation relations 51, 32 and 227 numbers of trees, shrubs and herbaceous species were identified that belong to 29, 19 and 37 families, respectively. The most dominant family was Poaceae with 50 species, followed by Fabaceae (37 species), Acanthaceae (19 species), Asteraceae (17 species), Amaranthaceae (11 species), Malvaceae, Euphorbiaceae and Lamiaceae each with 10 species, Convolvulaceae (7 species) etc. Sixteen families showed single species occurrence. Species differed in occupying soil depended upon the species adaptability to the soils generated from different rocks. Acacia tortilis preferredsandy soils with limited soil water, whereas Cordia gharaf, Diospyros montana, D. melanoxylon and N. arbortristis preferreddeep sandy soils with variable soil moisture. Wrightia tinctoria, Hyptis suaveolens and Murdania nudiflora preferred loamy sand soils, whereas Vernonia cinerascens, Borreria pussilla, Tephrocea strigosa were strongly associated with sandy loam soils. Butea monosperma, Mitragyna parviflora, T. grandis, L. camara, Indigofera argentea and Krignella articulata prefered habitat with relatively higher soil water content. Acacia senegal, C. wightii, E. caducifolia, F. indica, G. flavescens, L. ciliata, L. trinervis, S. rhombifolia, T. purpurea, T. rhomboidea etc. tolerated calcium rich habitats. Nyctanthes arbortristis preferred sloppy habitat with shallow soil in relatively better rainfall zone. Dominant species either trees, shrubs or herbs influenced soil characteristics and ecological functions. A single species performed many ecological functions like conserving soil and water, facilitating carbon sequestration, improving soil condition etc. At the same time, a group of species also found related to same functions either at same time or at different time/year.
Assessment of sacred groves: Assessment of 123 sacred groves throughout Rajasthan indicated dominance of 26 tree species and 25 shrub species. Dominant species with decreasing number of sacred groves are in order A. pendula >P. juliflora >Salvadora oleoides> Capparis decidua> P. cineraria>Tectona grandis >Acacia leucophloea >Acacia nilotica>Butea monosperma>Ziziphus rotundifolia. Some of the sacred groves have lost their sacredness because of introduction of exotic species under afforestestation or due to invasion, i.e. Eucalyptus spp., Prosopis spp., or Lantana spp. P. juliflora of different girth class dominated in 30.9 - 47.2% sacred groves, whereas availability of L. camara was observed in 8.9% sacred groves. In most of the sacred groves the climax species particularly Anogeissus pendula is degenerating with very poor regeneration and seedling recruitment. Sacred groves dominated by P. roxburghii, W. tinctoria, E. officinalis, B. monosperma, M. parviflora, A. indica, A. catechu and Tectona grandis showed better diversity and regeneration status. In arid region, P. cineraria and Salvadora spp. found effectives in maintaining diversity of the groves. Increased diversity and quantity of SOC, NH4-N, NO3-N and PO4-P and soil carbon density with increased rainfall indicated favourable conditions of the sacred groves available in east of the Aravalli. Almost 50% sacred groves showed medium to severe erosion and are shallow in soil depth. The sacred groves dominated by Azaidirachta indica, Acacia senegal, A. nilotica, E. officinalis, T. grandis and Terminalia arjuna had accumulated high soil organic carbon and thus are beneficial in high amount of carbon storage.
Mortality factors of Prosopis cineraria (Khejri): Acanthophorus serraticornis (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) and Ganoderma lucidum has been identified as the potential factors for the large scale drying and mortality of Khejri trees in four districts of Rajasthan. The khejri trees were treated with Chloropyriphos (0.05%) + Bavistin (0.15%) + Agromin (0.2%) as a root treatment. After third round of treatment at six different sites in five districts, average fodder (long) production increased by 1.64 kg as compared to control with only 0.296kg per tree increase.
Insect pests and mites of tree species: Among different national provenances of Azadirachta indica tried at AFRI, the provenance from Palanpur and Jhansi exhibited high tolerance to the larvae of M. tenuicornis (0.65 and 0.69 cm2), whereas the provenance from Mulag was the most favoured host as the leaf area consumed by larvae was 3.11 cm2. Three species of termites, Odontotermes obesus, O. redemanni and O. gurdaspurensis have been identified as the potential insect pests in neem provenance. Four species of sap sucking insectsviz., Aonidiella orientalis, Pulvinaria maxima, P. azadirachtae, Ceroplastes pseudoceriferus and Pseudococcus sp. have also been identified causing minor damage to the neem provenances.
A check- list of 49 insect species associated with Tecomella undulata has been prepared, where Celosterna scabrator, Derolus volvulus and Batocera rufomaculata (rohida) are borers causing severe infestation in the mature trees in IGNP area. Heavy termite infestation in Rohida trees at 1438 RD, Mohangarh and 1252 RD and 1265 RD at Nachna was also observed. Species responsible for the damage of bark and causing canker wasLasiodipodia theobrome causing 40% damage. The hollowness problem in rohida trees initiates with the formation of cankers in the main trunks of the trees. High percentage of canker formation was found in trees having girth >80 cm irrespective of age. The most effective systemic chemical found effective in its control was salicylic acid (10 mmol solutions).
Diversity of butterflies: A diverse population of 105 species of butterflies and 115 species of moth (Lepidoptera) has been identified from Gir National Park, Gujarat. Besides, a checklist of total 220 species of lepidopteron fauna has also been prepared. Out of these 65 species of butterflies and 59 species of moths are newly recorded.
Biological invasions: Invasive species P. juliflora and Lantana camara have beenobserved in 36.7% and 7.2% forest block of Rajasthan distributed in 32 and 15 district, respectively. Infestation of P. juliflora of >30 cm, 10-30 cm girth and saplings in varying density were also recorded in 47.2%, 46.3% and 30.9% sacred groves, whereas L. camara was recorded in 8.9% sacred groves. P. juliflora has also been reported as new host for 15 species of insects and is host of cantharidin producing beetles Mylabris species.
Mycorrhizal association and their benefits: Five AMF genera such as Glomus, Gigaspora, Scutellospora, Sclerocystis, Acaulospora and eleven species of Glomus have been extracted from root zones of Mehndi.Glomus multicaulae recorded first time from Pushkar, Ajmer and Sclerocystis indica recorded both from Mehndi and Ashwagandha from Nagaur and Pushkar, respectively.There were 36 fungal species recorded from Jodhpur that reduced to 13 in Jaisalmer. Acaulospora, Gigaspora, Glomus and Sclerocystis were found in all the fields, while Scutellospora species were found only at few sites. G. fasciculatum was most dominant followed by Sclerocystis species. About 100 g (approximately with 400 viable spores) inoculums/polybags (G. fasciculatum) is better for growth of Acacia nilotica whereas 100g inoculum of G. aggregatum was found best for seedlings ofAilanthus excelsa.G. fasciculatum was found best for plant growth and vigour as compared to other treatments. In case of Ashwagandha indigenous mixed inoculums with dominancy of G. aggregatum was found best. A total 39 species of six genera of AM fungi were also observed associated with P. cineraria.
Managing insect pests and diseases of medicinal plants: Dhatura root extract was found most effective in controlling the sap-sucking insects as well as semilooper (Achaea janata) attack on Lawsonia inermis.Sporadic incidence of black, brown leaf spot and blight disease caused by Alternaria spp. was also recorded in Lawsonia inermis. Isabgol (Plantago ovata) crop was found severely attacked by downy mildew disease caused by Peranosporaalta and aphid (Aphis gossypii) at Sojat (Pali). Seed treatment using Trichoderma harzianum 10g/kg seed + soil treatment with Beauveria bassiana-1 + Phorate granules wasfound best against downy mildew and termites in Isabgol. The treated plot yielded 104.88 kg stover/plot as compared to untreated 76.56 kg stover/plot with net return of Rs. 3670.80/- and Rs. 26.
Augmentation of composting: A totalthirteen mycoflora, i.e. Aspergillus niger, A.flavus, Alternaria spp., Mucor spp., Tichoderma viride, Trichoderma spp., Fusarium spp., Acremonium spp., Penicillium spp., Coprynus spp., Actinomycetes spp., Mycela strila Penicillium spp. and Bacterial colonies (unidentified) were identified. A. niger, A. flavus, Trichoderma, Mucor spp.and Penicillium spp. were dominant. Three litter decomposing fungi viz. Trichoderma viride, Aspergillus niger and Streptomyces and PSBs found effective in rapid composting.
Systemic acquired resistance in Rohida: Stem canker and splitting of bark is a problematic issue for Tecomella undualata (Rohida). The pathogen infects the tree at an early stage as it was isolated from 2-3 years stage of regenerated plants and pathogenecity was proved to occur in 2 years old seedling. The pathogen responsible like Lasidiploidia theobrome was managed using systemic chemical Salicylic acid (10 mmol) in the sapling stage. It was observed that the activity of defence enzyme starts decreasing with passes of time, i.e. 60 days onwards. This indicates repetition of treatment at 2 months interval.
Litter addition and carbon storage in Plantation Forests: Plantation along IGNP canal has greatly influenced the soil carbon storage by adding significant amount of litter. Soil carbon storage in the top 0-25 cm soil layer was 18.37 Mg ha-1 in Dalbergia sissoo, 13.08 Mg ha-1in Eucalyptus camaldulensis, 6.30 Mg ha-1 in Acacia nilotica, 4.83 Mg ha-1 in Prosopis cineraria, 2.44 Mg ha-1 in Acacia tortilis and 1.46 Mg ha-1 in Tecomella undulata. Decomposition rate was highest in A. nilotica and lowest in E. camaldulensis plantations.
Soil carbon density under NATCOM: Carbon storage observed relatively less in arid region of Gujarat than in Rajasthan. It ranged from 0.96 tons per ha in Salvadoraoleoides- Tamarix type vegetation in Gujarat to 38.92 tons per ha in Dry tropical riverain forests in Rajasthan. Carbon density in forests was relatively less than in the adjoining agriculture lands in most of the cases indicating degradation in forests.
Carbon stock of Rajasthan Forests: During carbon stock assessment in forest types of Rajasthan, 31 forest sub types were identified. In these forests, P. juliflora, A. pendula, Acacia tortilis, A. leucophloea, A. senegal, B. monosperma, P. cineraria, C. decidua, D. melanoxylon and M. emarginata were recorded in more than 10% forest blocks. Root to above-ground dry biomass ratio of the harvesting were 0.52 for shrubs, 0.48 for undershrubs and 0.44 for trees. Contributions of trees, shrubs, bamboos and tree saplings were 85.46%, 12.99%, 0.49% and 1.25%, respectively at ecosystem level total biomass. Total carbon in Rajasthan forests is 305.19 million tons (Mt), i.e. 142.6 Mt SIC, 121.6 Mt SOC, 1.24 Mt dead materials, 0.77 Mt herbaceous biomass, and 38.98 Mt live biomass. Out of 38.98 Mt carbon in standing live biomass in Rajasthan forests, 27.31 Mt is in above-ground and 11.68 Mt in belowground biomass. Forests of Hanumangarh, Jalore, Pali, Sikar, Alwar, Banswara, Baran, Chitaurgarh, Dungarpur, Jaipur, Karauli, Rajsamand and Udaipur contributes about 79% of the total live carbon stock in Rajasthan forests.
Climate change adaptation and mitigation: While studying the mitigation and adaptation strategies in six blocks namely Baap in Jodhpur, Sankara in Jaisalmer, Baitu in Barmer, Sanchore in Jalore, Bali in Pali and Aburoad in Sirohi districts of western Rajasthan, assessed soil organic carbon stock in 0-30 cm soil layer varied from 2.66 tons ha-1 in Baitu, Barmer to 16.39 tons ha-1 in Aburoad, Sirohi. In these, blocks situated in arid regions showed significantly low soil carbon stock as compared to Bali and Aburoad blocks. It varied from 7.65 tons ha-1 along roadside to 12.71 tons ha-1 in fallow landsamong the land uses. Pasturelands- the main stay for the highly populated livestock showed lesser carbon stock than agriculture lands. Soil organic carbon stock increased with annual average rainfall, but showed a weak decreasing trend with increase in livestock population per household. Important mitigation strategies observed in the regions are plantation of horti-silvi species for increased livelihood, organic manuring, reduction in use of cow-dung, crop residue and wood, use of kerosene stoves and LPG for cooking and solar light for lighting. Important adaptations to climate change are change in occupation, migration to other cities for employment and earning, use of hybrid seeds, chemical fertilizers and pesticides to increase crop production, mix-cropping and shifting towards vegetable farming for ensured food and livelihoods, and rain water harvesting for ensured drinking water availability and irrigation facilities.
Urban forestry and environmental quality: An urban aesthetic model designed and implemented at IITJ, Jodhpur new campus site along Nagaur road. Different combinations of tree and shrubs with varying phenology were planted. Species includes Azadirachta indica, Milingtonia hartensis, Peltoforumpterocarpum, Tabebuea aurea, Bougainvillia spp., Plumeria alba, Tabernaemontana divaricata, Nerium oleander etc. Temporal variations in the concentrations of suspended particulate matter (SPM), respirable suspended particulate matter (RSPM), NO2 and SO2in Jodhpur city and their interactive effects on urban vegetations was studied. Sojati gate, Mahamandir and Shastri circle area appeared more polluted in terms of concentration of these pollutants. Changes in urban tree and shrub population, number of species of these plant categories and species composition exhibited positive role in reducing air pollutants. The increase in plant height had negative relations with the concentrations of gaseous pollutants, whereas increased number of tree/shrubs decreased pollution level. A diverse community of trees and shrubs appeared more beneficial in reducing air pollutants particularly RSPM. Maintaining large and healthy trees appeared to have greatest effects on pollutant removal, thus use of long-lived trees provides a long-term benefits of reducing emitted pollutants and evergreen trees is more beneficial in year-round removal of particulate matter. There is need to enhance the area under urban forestry by use of a wide range of tree and shrub species in urban areas.
Established genetic resources: Important priority species of Gujarat and Rajasthan States likeDalbergia sissoo, Acacia nilotica, Tectona grandis and Eucalyptus camaldulensis were surveyed, studied and CPTs selected. Reproductive biology, Oil and Azadirachtin content and fodder value studied in A. indica at national and regional level. Genetic analysis of fruit and seed parameters in teak in Gujarat revealed significant variation. Stone length, treated Stone length (mm), stone weight (gm), Treated Stone weight and seed weight were found highly heritable, whereas Stone width, Treated stone width and number of unfilled chambers were moderately inherited. The heritability estimates for different traits ranged for 14 to 86 percent. Investigation on genetic variation and inheritance of wood traits along with growth traits for Gujarat teak indicated very low to high, where the heritability values were 38 for height and 35% for heart wood to sap wood ratio. Family heritability values were considerately higher for all the traits suggesting effectiveness for family selection. GCA estimates of 9 parents found positive for wood specific gravity.
Genetic variation amongst half sib families was studied and estimates of heritability and genetic gains were computed and inheritance of growth traits was investigated. In all trials narrow sense heritability ranged from 2 to 97% for various traits. General combining ability (gca) analysis revealed that all 26 parents exhibited positive gca values. Progeny trial comprising of 28 and nine families established at Sujjangarh and Jodhpur. 92 phenotypically superior trees of Prosopis cineraria were selected and marked, where variation in pod length and width exhibited moderately high heritability (broad sense), i.e. 27 and 25%, respectively with genetic gain of 3.23 and 5.89 percent. All seed germination parameters were high to moderately heritable and exhibited high genetic gain estimates. Progeny trials established for 30 families at AFRI, Jodhpur and 52 families at Samaspur (Jhunjhunu).
In order to study the genetic variation and investigate inheritance pattern of Melia composita’, five progeny trials at Jodhpur, Gandhinagar, Deesa Ghodiwada (Jhunjhunu) and Bassi (Jaipur) have been established. Early evaluation of these trials reveals that both height and collar girth exhibited significant variation amongst the tree. Individual and family heritability for height was 25 and 54 in Jodhpur; 31 and 57 in Deesa, whereas these estimates were 30 and 59 for collar girth in Deesa trial. At one year analysis these estimates for height were low ranging from 1.42 to 9.61% at individual and 5.57 to 32% at family level.
Field Trials: Provenance (A. indica and A.nilotica), progeny (A. indica, T. undulata, Prosopis cineraria and Tectona grandis) and multi-locational clonal (E. camaldulensis, D. sissoo) trials established at different locations and evaluated. Two clonal trials of 12 and 9 accessionsof Jatropha curcas were established, where numbers of plants in each were 25 and 9 plants per replication. Two seedling seed orchards of 116 CPTs with 15 replications and 17 CPTs with 5 replications were raised and evaluated. In another two trials (Elite) laid in RBD with 4 replications there were 16 plants/replications. Besides, a native trial in RBD with 3 replications was also established and evaluated. Agri-trial, spacing and pollarding trials were also established and evaluated. After 6- years of establishment, survival varied from 6.3 to 75.0% in elite trial after 72-months of planting. Overall mean plant height, number of branches and collar diameter varied from 165.0 to 250.0 cm, 3.0 to 5.5 cm and 4.7 to 9.5 cm, respectively. Seed yield ranged from almost negligible to 740.0 g per plant. Across the site performance, 14 accessions have been selected based on survival and growth.
Micro-propagation: Studies carried out under various project and Ph.D. programmes to develop tissue culture protocols for Azadirachta indica, Acacia nilotica, Ailanthus excelsa, Tecomella undulata, Capparis decidua, Commiphora wightii, Balanites aegyptiacaand Salvadora persica. Three protocols relating toA. indica, C. decidua and C. wightii are ready for commercial applications.
Macropropagation: Different degree of rooting successfully achieved in many woody species like Azadirachta indica, Acacia nilotica, Ailanthus excelsa, Tecomella undulata to develop macroproapation methods. However, macropropagation technique developed for Azadirachta indica can be applied in field for large scale propagation. Grafting technique of Ardu (Ailanthus excelsa Roxb) is also developed and useful to the farmers and SFDs.
DNA Marker and Gene Expression: DNA marker studies were carried out on Neem, Guggul, Rohida for studying genetic diversity, clonal fidelity tests and other desired genetic traits. DNA markers are used in Guggul (C. wightii) to understand its breeding behaviour and identification of true apomixtic genotypes. Gene expression studies on halophytic plant Lepidium sativum through comparative genomics (Cross species RT – PCR) approach reveals that the expression levels of LsHKT-1 gene does not undergo a remarkable change even at highest salinity levels of 200 mM NaCL treatment. It appears that this gene which primarily is responsible for K+ ion uptake probably does not loss its primary function even under high salinity levels (and remains a uniporter).
Germplasm bank of medicinal plants: A herbal garden with Germplasm bank-cum-demonstration center containing about 148 important medicinal plants of different species has been established over an area of about 1 hectare in the AFRI Model nursery located on the National Highway NH-65. Annual requirement of medicinal plants in the state of Rajasthan has been studied through market survey. Field trial on important medicinal plants including Cassia angustifolia and Commiphora wightii to standardize the agrotechniques has been carried out. Agrotechniques for Aloe vera, Catheranthus roseus, Asperagus racemosus, Withania somnifera and Ocimum sanctum have been standardized.
Seed Technology: Effects of seed size and seed pre-treatments have been studied in Acacia nilotica and Prosopis cineraria. Protocols for seed testing have also been developed for various tree species of this region. Work has been done on various aspects of physiological changes of freshly collected Azadirachta indica seeds and stored seeds mainly to prolong the viability and to increase germination percentage. Seeds of Acacia nilotica, Acacia catechu, Dalbergia sissoo and Teactona grandis were also collected from seed stands, seed production areas and clonal seed orchards and were intra-compared for seed testing parameters. Seeds of D. sissoo do not require any pretreatment, A. catechu requires mild luke warm water for overnight, Acacia nilotica requires various pretreatments (acid, hot water and mechenical scarification) and Tectona grandis normal water. Seeds of Acacia nilotica collected from seed stands and seed production areas showed slight improvement in seed parametrs in favour of seed production areas (SPA), whereas it was in favour of seed stands for Acacia catechu. Weight of 100 dewingd pod of Dalbergia sissoovaried from 2.20-2.50g (seed stands) to 1.81-5.52g (CSOs) and percent germination from 16.70-37.10 in seed stands to 7-63% in CSO. Vigour index also varied from 1.33-6.12 in seed stands to 0.60-16.25 in CSO. Seed of teak has been collected from seeds stands, seed production areas, Clonal and seed orchards, where 100 stone weight varied from 29-53.72g in seed stands, 21-44g in SPA, 19.14-60g in CSO and 20-42.67g in TSO. Locule/stone varied from 3.40-4.0 (seed stands), 3.72-4.0 in SPA and TSOs and 3.41-4.0 in seed CSOs. Seeds/stone also varied from 0.48-0.92 in seed stands, 0.52-1.32 in SPAs, 0.48- 1.60 in CSOs and 0.48-1.36 in TSOs. Two seed yield equations were developed for Jatrophacurcas.
Demonstration Trials: Large scale field trial of tissue culture raised plants of Dendrocalamus strictus and Bambusa bambos were established and evaluated in Gujarat and Rajasthan. In another experiment, six bamboo species were tried for their performance in Udaipur and Banswara in Rajasthan and Dahod in Gujarat, where D. strictus showed maximum survival (77%), followed by B. bambos (58.3), B. valgaris (52.1), B. nutans (35.4) and B. tulda (30). Survial was minimum in D. asper plants (only 2%).
Work on Guggal at AFRI: Survey of guggul plants has been done in all 33 districts of Rajasthan, where female and male plants ratio was 99.9: 0.01. From 117 CPPs, 1428 cuttings were tried for vegetative propagation. Progenies of 30 CPPs are available to study apomixis behaviour. DNA and Isozyme marker studies revealed that only one genotype (CPP) produces genetically identical progenies as produced by apomixis. Rest of the genotype do not produce seeds through apomixes. Seeds collected from six sources and 26 CPPs as mature seeds indicated that some genotypes have potential to produce high percentage of viable black seeds. Data analysis indicates that location of genotype is playing important role in black and white seeds ratios.
In a network programme, 21 clonal accessions were selected from Rajasthan and their performance and agritrial laid in the field. Jaipur and Tonk accessions performed the best. A low cost micro-propagation protocol also developed and some plants established in the field. More than four years old embryogenic callus have been maintained on both medium with alternate sub-culturing. Secondary and tertiary somatic embryos were also obtained. Cyclic embryogenesis and hardening have been standardized. Besides, 6 proven polymorphic primers were used to screen the population of field grown plants. Results indicated a uniform monomorphic pattern between the ramets and ortets. Ethephon (a plant growth regulator) injection based method found working in arid conditions and this method gave encouraging results.
Ph. D. Programme and project work: The AFRI, Jodhpur is conducting compulsory course work of Ph.D. programme, in a classroom mode under FRI Deemed University, Dehradun. From AFRI till 2016 about 42 students have been awarded Ph.D. degree in various disciplines/subjects by the FRI Deemed University. Currently 10 students are registered for Ph.D. degree in various disciplines. Apart from this, every year M.Sc., M.Tech., B.Tech. etc. (dissertation) students from various universities are getting trained through dissertation projects related to forestry and allied aspects. About 150 students have carried out their project work-cum-training under various disciplines/subjects.
Orientation Programmes: AFRI organizes one week refresher course for Indian Forest Service Officials since 2010. Five such courses have been arranged for IFS officers on “Integrated Approach for Sustainable Development of Fragile Desert Eco-system”
Key extension activities: Developed technologies are extended through trainings, demonstrations, participation in different fairs (melas) & providing literature, delivering lectures, environment days celebrations, radio talk, print media and other mass communication means. Awareness is created on forestry and environment among people through, painting, poem, photography competitions and other such activities on environmental problems.
Trainings: Different trainings have been imparted to farmers, artisans & forest functionaries, JFMC's etc. for skill up-gradation on forestry, wildlife & environmental conservation.
1- 14 trainings under VVK-DV from which 739 persons have been benefitted.
2- Trainings to members of Watershed Committees (200 participants).
3- Eco-sensitization of army troops through training program.
4- Ten training programs for 10 desert districts in phase I and 21 Program in Phase II for seven desert districts have been organized Under CDP.
5- 4 BTSG trainings on Bamboo cultivation in Rajasthan and Gujarat under National Bamboo Mission benefitting 144 forest field functionaries and 61 farmers.
6- Trainings to farmers, artisans & progressive farmers on skill-up gradation on Bamboo handicraft under Bamboo Technology support group & ICFRE program.
7- Nineteen IWMP trainings to farmer's project implementing agency, water development team and water engineers (600 Participants).
8- Training for Sensitization on forests, wildlife & environmental conservation (31 Participants).
9- Trainings program under UNDP and NBM.
10- Three trainings on Nursery Management (90 Participants) in year 2016-17.
11- One Training cum workshop on People's Participation in plantation and Combating Desertification.
12- Three Trainings under Umbrella Scheme of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for training of other stakeholders and personnel of other services (113 Participants) .
Particiaption in fair/mela: Participation in various Farmer's Fairs organized by ARS Mandore, CAZRI, Jodhpur and its KVKs, Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) as well as in Paschimi Rajasthan Hastshilp Mela, Arogyam Mela and Jan Suchana Abhiyan has also been done for exchange of ideas related to STK and ITK, dissemination of the research activities and technologies developed by the institute through posters and literature, to develop better ties with host and participating institutions for future collaboration and to identify the needs and requirements of stakeholders.
Tree growers’ mela:Organized on 21.03.17 to bring people involved in tree growing and tree product marketing, processing and value addition together. 208 People participated in the mela. On this occasion stalls were set up by various self help groups (SHGs), Botanical Survey of India, CAZRI and Ayurveda University, KVK (Danta, Barmer), NGO's etc. A workshop was also organized on this occasion for interaction of tree growers with the scientist of the institute to facilitate mutual knowledge sharing.
Important environment days celebration: Institute celebrates important environment days like World Water Day, World Earth Day, World Biodiversity day, World Environment Day, World Ozone Day, World Combating Desertification Day, Van Mahotsava week etc in each year to popularize days dedicated for environment conservation and to review different issues annually through scientific discussions, lectures and organization of various events etc.
Van Vigyan Kendras:Three VVKs have been established at Bikaner in Rajasthan, Rajkot in Gujarat and Khanwel, Silvasa in Dadra Nagar Haveli. Research findings were extended through 14 trainings conducted under VVK-DV through which 739 persons (500 Forest staff & 239 farmers) were trained. Literature like brochures, pamphlets, posters and display materials were provided to the VVKs to disseminate developed technologies among the people. Hi-Tech Nursery, up gradation/ renovation works have been carried out at Bichhawal nursery, Bikaner & Mohangarh, Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) and Chiparidi Beedi, Rajkot (Rajasthan). One compost chamber was constructed at Hi-tech nursery Bichhwal, Bikaner. Developed technologies were published in Quarterly magazine "AFRI Darpan" Year 9 Volume 4, Oct – Dec 2011 for wide publicity among people. Different types of pamphlets and leaflets have been published on developed technologies of AFRI under VVK.
Demo village: A Demo Village has also been established at Salawas, Jodhpur to demonstrate the role of forest research in developing livelihood opportunities and for addressing environmental conditions at village level. Rainwater harvesting and soil and water conservation measures have been demonstrated in hilly/gravelly pediment area at Demo-village Salavas, Jodhpur for demonstration purposes. These structures are ,pits like saucer pits and ring pits, regular trenches (box trench), V-ditch and Gradonie ditch. Five numbers of masonry check dams and two numbers of loose stone check dams were also prepared under drainage line treatment. Silvipastoral model of Cenchrus ciliaris grass along with Cordia gharafa and Zyziphus nummularia with intervention of in-situ water conservation have been demonstrated at Demo-village Salavas, Jodhpur. A nursery was developed and maintained through different silvicultural practices since 2012-13. The developed cattle proof trenches, planted lives hedges, medicinal plants and agroshed net and compost chamber were maintained for demonstration purpose. Different medicinal plants species planted and maintained viz; Nyctanthus arbortrestus (Harsingar), Cybopogon citrates (Leman grass), Asparagus racemosus (Satawari), Crinumasi aticum (Sudarsan), Adhatoda beddomei (Adusa) and three creepers are Tinospora cordiflora (Neem giloi), Argyreia nervosa (Tambeshwar Ghav Bel) and Tylophora asthmatica (Dama Bel) at Demo village nursery for knowledge and use of local people.
Field demonstrations:Developed technologies were demonstrated at Pali, Nagaur, Churu (Rajasthan) and Palanpur (Gujarat) for benefit of local people under RD project. Developed technologies on agroforestry model were demonstrated on farmer's lands at village Harsh and Bijvadiya, Bilara, District Jodhpur.
Museum (Extension and Interpretation Center): There is a well equipped Extension & Interpretation Centre at AFRI to showcase and disseminate our research findings to the end users. Rolling posters, backlight printing board, display panels, LED posters and scroll posters on developed technologies of the institute are demonstrated at the Centre. A Farmer’s Gallery has also been established in this centre. In this gallery, information on display boards is published in Hindi language. A lecture room has been developed with well equipped audio visual facilities for organising trainings at the Centre. Display materials of new developed technologies are added to this centre regularly. Various groups of stakeholders like farmers, students from schools, colleges & universities, members of NGOs, Village Forest Protection Committee members, forest officials, frontline forest staff and trainee forest officials frequently visit the centre. On an average, about 1500 people visit the Centre annually. Trainings are imparted to farmers, artisans & forest functionaries and other officials on skill up-gradation on forestry at the Centre.
KVK- VVK linking: Efforts have also been directed to strengthen KVK & VVK linking to develop a strong bond of collaboration between the two agencies to bring extension services from both agriculture and forestry sector for the benefit of forest field functionaries and farmers by participation in mutual events organized by KVK's and VVK's.
Publications: " AFRI Darpan " a quarterly magazine is being published since April 2003 and distributed among stakeholders. Pamphlets and Brochures have also been published from time to time on different topics related to the research activities and developed technologies of the institute.
Direct to consumers Schemes: Research findings of the projects namely 'Efficacy and economics of water harvesting devices in controlling run-off losses and enhancing biomass productivity in Aravalli ranges’' and 'Management of potential insect pests and diseases of important medicinal plants grown in arid and semi-arid regions' have been taken to field functionaries, NGOs, progressive farmers, DRDA, watershed authorities and forest officials through training cum workshop, field visit and demonstrations.
Monitoring and evaluation : AFRI have done evaluations of afforestation works carried out in Combating Desertification programmes of SFD, Rajasthan during different phases covering 10 arid western districts. Other evaluations are work under watershed programme in Jhalawar, reclamation of water logged areas in Jetsar in Ganganagar and Rawatsar area in Hanumangarh (Funded by MoRD). Recently a project is also completed on evaluation of works carried out under CAMPA programme throughout Rajasthan.
Research publications: 411 papers have been published by the institute till December 2014 (Table 2). Which includes 157 research papers in international journals? In addition to this 35 research papers have been published from January 2015 to August, 2016 in National (20) and International journals(15).
For more information visit: http://afri.icfre.org/