Species limits of the endemic genus Stemonoporus Thw. : leaf architecture answers

Stemonoporus Thw. is the most species-rich (27 species) endemic dipterocarp genus in Sri Lanka. All its members are categorized as highly threatened or threatened in the IUCN red data book. A recent study carried out in order to evaluate the species limits of Stemonoporus, further strengthened its position as the most species-rich endemic dipterocarp genus in Sri Lanka by further adding a new species and totaling the number to 27. A detailed study on leaf architecture was carried out in order to identify characters for field identification of these 27 species. Leaves were cleared and scored for characters. Twenty leaf architectural characters were identified, including leaf venation type, primary, secondary and tertiary veins, areoles and veinlets. A comprehensive description of leaf architecture for all the species was complied. A combined phylogenetic analysis with other morphological characters was performed. The simple, entire margined, spirally arranged leaves indicated a shared ancestry. Within the genus Stemonoporus, all 27 species are monophyletic and are supported by leaf architectural apomorphies.

The leaf venation characters used during the previous works are indistinctly defined and during the present study, novel, strong and stable leaf architectural characters were identified for each of the species. These characters could play a crucial role in field identification of these highly threatened taxa.

keywords: Stemonoporus, phylogenetic, dipterocarp, threatened

S.C.K. Rubasinghe1 and D.M.D. Yakandawala 2, and D.S.A. Wijesundara 3
1Postgraduate Institute of Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
2Department of Botany, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
3Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Wood quality traits in Eucalyptus hybrid in Tamilnadu for pulpwood

Eucalyptus tereticornis is utilized mainly for paper pulp as it possess long fibers and fibers with wide overall diameter and thin walls. This paper elicits information on extent of variability, effect of stand age, order of coppice sprouts relative to the original tree and number of coppice sprouts per stool on wood properties of E. tereticornis.

This study conducted at two even aged plantations at Pudukkottai and Coimbatore in TamilNadu revealed maximum variability in the extractive contents followed by cellulose yield up to 36.5 per cent with site. Lignin, pentason, cellulose yield and specific gravity showed lesser variability. Rotation age did not affect cellulose and lignin content, while extracts increased progressively with rotation. From the stand point of cellulose yield, a new parameter, seven year old stand was superior and it recorded increased yields of 84 per cent and 26 per cent respectively over three and six year old plantations.

Wood properties barring specific gravity and calcium oxide varied significantly among various rotations. Rela tive to the original stand, cellulose content reduced in the second coppice stand. Between the two coppice stands, the second harvest possessed higher lignin content. Alcohol extract was markedly more in both first and second coppice stand. Cellulose yield of original and the first coppice stand were on par while it reduced by 25% in second coppice stand. Others like specific gravity, pentosan, cellulose content and alcohol extract did not vary due to number of shoots per stool in the coppiced stands, though the extractive contents increased with increasing number of coppice shoots, while results relating to lignin were inconsistent.

D. Rajasekar and J.Yogalakhsmi
Animal Welfare Board of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Tamilnadu, India.

Litterfall and Nutrient Accretions to Soil in Teak Plantation

In natural forests and manmade protected plantations, nutrient cycling is an important process and it involves various processes within the ecosystem. A considerable amount of nutrients are returned through litterfall in the form of leaves, twigs, bark, flowers, fruits, etc. to the soil and are made available for reabsorption. In order to study the litterfall pattern and the total amount of nutrients returned, a field experiment was conducted in an eighteen years old teak plantation at Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam. The litter was col lected from the tree stands using litter traps of 1 m x 1 m size at monthly intervals for one year from January 2006 to December 2006. Thus collected litter was separated into leaves, twigs, flowers and fruits. Dry weight of each component was determined by drying to constant weight at 600 C and the mean monthly value for each plot was worked out on a unit area basis (kg ha-1). The collected litter samples were analysed for nutrient content and the nutrient returns were worked out.

Among the various litter components, leaf litterfall occurred throughout the year with wide variations among different months. The peak leaf fall occurred during February (1,703 kg ha1) and it was higher during January to June contributing 80.0 % to the total annual leaf fall. But flowers, fruits and twig fall occurred only during a particular season. Flowers recorded the highest value during December, while in case of fruits and twigs it was during March. The litterfall was higher during January to June months contributing 77.0 % to the total annual litterfall. The total annual litterfall was found to be 11,255 kg ha-1, of which the leaf litter accounted for 81.9 % to the total litterfall, followed by the twigs (6.5%), fruits (6.3%) and flowers (5.3 %).

Contents of Ca and Mg were higher in leaf litter while flowers had higher N and P contents. K content was higher in fruits while the twigs had lowest nutrient contents. The total annual return of various nutrients viz., N, P, K, Ca and Mg from the litter components were 110.26, 17.50, 35.03, 348.97 and 78.46 kg ha-1 respectively. Of the total annual nutrients return, leaf litter contributed a major share of 74.38, 12.51, 27.95, 311.91 and 65.95 kg ha-1 of N, P, K, Ca and Mg, respectively.

S Manivasakan, A K Mani, A Balasubramanian, R Santhi and V Karikalan
Forest College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Tamil Nadu, India.

Growth rates Variability in Eucalyptus Hybrid with respect to Site, Ro tation, Coppice Stand in relation to Original Stand

The importance of Eucalyptus as the raw material source of paper and pulpwood industries needs no elabora tion. Thus this paper elicits information on extent of variability, effect of stand age, order of coppice sprouts relative to the original tree and number of coppice sprouts per stool on mophometric traits of E. tereticornis. The study conducted at two even aged plantations at Pudukkottai (10°1¢ N; 77° 5¢ E; 140 msl; 1000 mm; pH 5.3) and Coimbatore (11° N; 67° 5¢ E; 400 msl; 750 mm; pH 6.7) in Tamil Nadu revealed variability from 23.9 to 33.5 % in stem volume. Other parameters viz. merchantable height and bark proportion had significant variation with site. Age also affect growth rates and specific gravity was the highest in seven year plantation in comparison with three-year stand, while plantations of other ages showed parity. First coppice stand was equally comparable with that of first cutting (original stand) in terms of stem volume production while it recorded a reduction of 18 % in second coppice stand. While number of coppice shoots had no bearing on either dbh or merchantable height, it had significant influence on volume production; yield under two shoots per stump was exactly twice as much as that under one shoot per stump; that of three shoots was nearly two and half times as much.

D Rajasekar and J Yogalakhsmi
Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

Memecylon umbellatum Burm.f. (Melastomataceae): A wild plant with a landscape potential

The landscape industry is continuously in need of novel and exciting material to maintain the viability. As a result, exotic plants are being introduced at an accelerated rate. Some of these plants have escaped from man made landscapes and invaded into natural areas causing detrimental damage to the biodiversity. As a solution, floristic wealth of the Sri Lankan flora can be successfully tapped to introduce native plants to the landscape industry. The present study was conducted with the objective of identifying the landscape potential and a method of propagation of a wild plant Memecylon umbellatum in order to introduce it to the landscape industry in Sri Lanka.

The landscape potential of the plant was studied and the phenological observations were made over a year at Makandura. The propagation experiment included nine treatment combinations viz. three types of cuttings (softwood, softwood with a portion of hardwood, and hardwood) vs three types of media (sand, sand + coir dust (1:1) and sand + coir dust + top soil (1:1:1)) arranged in a randomized complete block design with three blocks. Twentyone stem cuttings of 20cm in length were used in a single plot to represent a treatment combination. The data were analyzed using CATMODE procedure.
Memecylon umbellatum produce attractive, violet blue flowers four times a year and during mass flowering 80% flower coverage was recorded. Flowering at a population level extends up to three weeks. Fruits are also attrac tive and maturation period is 20 days. Therefore, this plant can be used in landscaping for its aesthetic beauty, as a hedge and to make topiary. Significantly high rooting percentage (92%) and root dry weights were recorded in softwood cuttings with a portion of hardwood grown in sand medium. Therefore, it can be recommended as a propagule to introduce this plant as a landscape plant. The plant occurs naturally in wet, intermediate and dry zone and therefore, can be used as a landscape plant in all the three major climatic zones of the country.

R.M.M.A. Ratnayake, K. Yakandawala and M.P.I. Senarathne
Department of Horticulture and Landscape Gardening, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka

Action Oriented Learning: A Tool for Effective Use of Forest Resources for Better Livelihood

Widespread poverty existed amongst the forest based tribal communities in the Aruku valley and the adjoining forest area of Andhra Pradesh state in southern India. In spite of dwelling in a forest range with rich biodiversity most of these tribal communities were unable to utilize the Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) to augment their livelihood base.
Bereft of proper welfare services of the State since generations, because of the inaccessible terrain (ranges between 700 and 900 meters above mean sea level) the tribals languished with very low Human Development Indices. Quantitatively, NTFPs here have always been ample for the use of the communities but the State had never earnestly attempted to mobilize the people to utilize the same for improving their livelihood by accessing the market. Weak collectivization process of the communities stemmed from the apathy of the understaffed forest department. This had resulted in low knowledge and skill of the forest dependent community to utilize the surplus NTFPs for economic gains.
A process (called the Action Oriented Learning) has been on since 2002 to mobilize the community in 3600 habitations to carry out microplanning exercises. This has been a tool for the communities to identify their priorities, the resources and look for means to address their short- and long-term needs. During this process apart from other issues, the community discusses issues of availability of specific NTFPs (of a season), the ongoing prices, the marketing avenues and gets to a common consensus to collectively trade in specific NTFPs. The accompanying social mobilization and capacity building processes have empowered them with information regarding the collection, value addition and the forward linkages.

Currently tribals in 3600 habitations of this forested area trade in various NTFPs. The State run Co-operative is the primary buyer. There is least dependency on ‘external’ middlemen. The local NGOs and CBOs of the village form the vital link and there has been a sea change in the livelihood base of these forest-based communities. Not only has borrowing from moneylenders decreased, but out-migration to urban areas during the lean period has also fallen drastically.

P K Nanda and B Mohanty
Sustainable Tribal Empowerment Project, CARE-India, Andhra Pradesh, India

Factors Influencing Fuelwood Collection Pattern and Their Impacts on Forest Management and Livelihoods of Poor Families in the Mountains of Nepal

This paper examines the factors influencing the fuelwood collection and its impact on forest management and livelihoods of poor families in one of the mountain watersheds of Nepal. The annual per capita fuelwood collec tion ranged widely and had a median of 683 kg. The proportion of total fuelwood collected from private sources was a low 17% compared to 45% of government and 39 % of Community forests. Membership in a community forest user group had no influence on the proportion of fuelwood collected from private forests, suggesting that when faced with regulations over fuelwood collection, users tend to increase collection rates in unprotected national forests instead of investing in private fuel-wood. Those having larger land holding and a smaller family size of 5.5, benefited more from private trees, whereas the relatively poorer ones, with smaller land and a higher mean family size of 6.6 had the highest dependency (92%) on the public forests causing their rapid degradation especially in watersheds dominated by them (55%). The poorer ones also had to access the public forests in distant locations thereby increasing the collecting time and reducing time available for other livelihood activities. Therefore, private sources of fuel-wood should continue be promoted, and this will have positive impacts on both livelihood and forest conservation by reducing the need to extract from public forests and Community forestry, being crucial for marginalized households for generating income from their sales in local markets, must be managed such that equitability of access in community forests is maintained.

A Dhakal
Nepal Agroforestry Forestry Foundation (NAF), Nepal

Sustainable Management of Forest Resources in India Through Criteria and Indicator Approach

The concept of Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) is not new, but has become popular in recent years. SFM encompasses environmental dimension relating to maintenance of the natural resources in perpetuity, economic dimensions for production of goods and services and social dimensions describing involvement of people in decision-making process and equitable benefit sharing. For operationalising SFM it is imperative to have assessment system such that deviations towards or away from sustainability can be ascertained and corrective actions can be taken. The system should evaluate the two main conditions i.e., maintenance of ecosystem integrity and maintenance and enhancement of well being of people.

Criteria and indicators (C & I) are the tools for assessing the magnitude and the direction of change in a given forestry situations and provide a forest management information system, which is important for forest managers and other actors for forestry related decision making. C & I can be used to encourage more holistic thinking when planning forest management activities, and to bring about greater vigor, openness, transparency and accountability in forest management planning, monitoring and reporting. The important eight criteria adopted in some forest divisions of India includes increase in the extent of forest and tree cover, maintenance, conservation and enhancement of biodiversity, maintenance and enhancement of ecosystem function and vitality, conservation and maintenance of soil and water resources, maintenance and enhancement of forest resource productivity, optimization of forest resource utilization, maintenance and enhancement of social, cultural and spiritual benefits and adequacy of policy, legal and institutional framework. Under each of these criteria such as for example under ecosystem function and vitality, the status of natural regeneration is used as an indicator.

Mishra et al. (2004) observed that the people are mostly dependent on trees outside forest, hence reducing the pressure on the natural forest. The sustainability index shows comprehensive impact of various indicators on overall sustainability of the forest in the forest management unit (Anon. 2005 and 2006). Village communities in Kodagu have sustained the survival value of the Devarakadu institution by contributing towards their use and existence values, and also by offering social fencing (Accava et al., 2007).

Regular monitoring and assessment through C & I helps to identify areas of concern and apply timely measures to ensure continuous availability of forest goods and services. The ultimate aim is to promote improved forest management practices overtime and to further the development of healthier and more productive forests, taking into consideration the social, economic, environmental, cultural and spiritual needs of the society.

G M Devagiri, T Nethravathi, Sathish and H S Vasudev
University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India
College of Forestry, Ponnampet, Kodagu, Karnataka, India

Beauty Leaf (Calophyllum inophyllum L.), tree: a tree with great economic potential

Calophyllum inophyllum L. (Clusiaceae) commonly known as Alexandrian laurel or beauty leaf or Domba (in Sri Lanka) is essentially a littoral tree of the tropics, occurring above the high-tide mark along sea coasts of northern Australia and extending throughout Southeast Asia and southern India (Agroforesrey Database 2007).The tree is native to both Australia and Sri Lanka. For many years it has been used by indigenous communities and alternative medicine practitioners. It also has a high demand for its seed oil from cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

It is a high potential bio-diesel plant. Seed yields 65% oil from its dry weight 3744 kg/ha from 400 trees (Azam et al. 2005). It has the highest per tree oil yield from 75 plant species tested so far. It can be used in conventional diesel engines (without any alterations) in its pure form or as a blend with mineral oil (Agarwal 2006).
It is also a durable multi-purpose timber (density 560-900kg/m³) (Timber Species Notes, DPI Queensland 2007).With recently discovered plant properties (anti-HIV and anti-cancer active compounds), Calophyllum inophyllum can be placed amongst the most important multi-purpose trees.

This paper reviews various economically important uses and services of Calophyllum inophyllum L. and areas for future research. This also outlines an ongoing research project “Provenance variations in ecophysiology, growth, performance, seed oil and Calocoumarin-A (anti-cancer agent) content of Calophyllum inophyllum L.” that is being carried out in Queensland, Australia and in Sri Lanka.

Subhash Hathurusingha and N. Ashwath
Centre for Plant and Water Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton QLD 4702,

Underutilized wild Dioscorea Species Found in the Dry Zone Forests of Sri Lanka

Wild germplasm of Dioscorea aculata (syn. Dioscorea pentaphyla) known as Katuala and Dioscorea obcuniata known as Hiritala were explored, investigated and characterized from forests of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Hambantota areas. These species grew vigorously in dry, sandy and stony areas. They were field planted at Aralaganwila and evaluated the performance. Katuala and Hiritala species produced aerial auxiliary bulbils that dispersed naturally. Tubers and aerial bulbils of Katuala were suitable for propagation. Tubers exhibited dormancy for about 5 months and another 5 months from planting to harvesting. Both species produced yams once a year. Planted tubers produced vigorously growing vines and then female flowers and bulbils in about 2 months and male flowers in about 2.5 months. Planted bulbils produced slow growing vines but no flowers, bulbils or under ground tubers in 5 month period. Cultivated germplasm produced bulbils (0.4-0.9 g) along the main stem and lateral stems at about 12-46 cm above the ground level. Katuala and Hiritala species possessed a spiny stem. Succulent aerial parts died off but tubers remained dormant during dry season in yala. They produced shoots with the onset of rains in maha. Characteristic differences of growth and morphology of aerial parts and tubers are given. Tubers of Hiritala species were edible in fresh form and that of both species were cooked and consumed. Dioscorea species inhabited in Sri Lanka are in danger due to urbanization, habitat destructions, unsustainable harvesting, damage by wild animals and lack of protection, replanting or cultivations programs.

Y Ketipearachchi, K W Ketipearachchi and H A P I P Hettiarachchi
Plant Genetic Resource Center, Department of Agriculture, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka