Short notes on Forest Produce in India

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Forests of India provide a number of products which are used for domestic and industrial purposes. These include timber, industrial raw material, tan­ning material, oil and perfumes, medicines and herbs, gums and resins etc. These products may be classi­fied into major and minor products.

Major Products

Indian forests contain over 5000 species of wood, of which about 450 are commercially valu­able. This includes both hard and soft woods. Hard woods are mostly provided by trees belonging to tropical and sub-tropical forests, i.e., sal, teak, sisoo, mahogany, ebony, iron-wood, logwood, semal, kikar etc. Similarly trees (of temperate forests) like spruce, fir, cedar, deodar, pine, blue pine, poplar etc. supply soft wood over 70 per cent of which goes to indus­trial uses (hard wood only 30 per cent).

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These forests together yield about 8.79 million cubic meters of industrial wood annually (per annum need being 15 million cubic meters). The total production of wood (both industrial and fuel) from Indian forests is estimated at 23.2 million cubic meters.

Woods from Monsoon Forests

Sal (Shorea robusta)-It occurs in the sub- Himalayan tract from Kangra to Darrang, Garo hills, eastern part of central India and northern Tamil Nadu. The wood is very hard, heavy and tough, reddish brown and extremely durable. It is in high demand for piles, beams, planking, and railing of bridges, doors, window posts of houses, bodies of carts and railway sleepers. In Assam it is a favorite wood for boat-making. Sal forests occupy about 11.6 lakh hectares of area (15.6 of total forest area).

Teak (Tectona grandis)-Teak is exten­sively found in the forests of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa. The most important teak producing area lies in the districts of Hoshangabad, Chanda, Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), Chandrapur, North Canara, Khandesh (Maharashtra), and Banswara (Rajasthan). Teak wood is moderately hard, durable, and easy to work and takes a good polish. It is highly prized for construction, ship building, furniture making, railway carriages, sleepers and bridges. Teak forests cover about 8.9 million hectares of the forest area.

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Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo)-It occurs throughout the Himalayan tract from Punjab to As­sam ascending up to 1500 m. It is extensively grown in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Assam. Its wood is hard, heavy, narrowly inter­locked grained and medium textured. On account of its great strength, elasticity and durability, it is highly valued as constructional and general utility timber and is used for furniture making, bullock cart, agricultural implements, musical instruments and railway sleepers. It can be worked into decorative ornamental carvings.

Haldu-it is found all over the Monsoon areas. Its wood is hard, durable and of light colour which is used for toy making and wood carving.

Palas-it is a tree of dry Monsoon areas. It mainly occurs in south-eastern Rajasthan and Chota Nagpur plateau. Its leaves are used in rearing shellac worms.

Arjun-it is found in Monsoon forests. Its wood is hard and heavy which is used for making agricultural implements and bullock cart.

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Mahua (BossiaLatifolia)-it is largely found in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The fruit is used for extracting oil and flowers for wine making.

Semul (Bombax Ceiba or Salmalia insignis)-It is widely found in Assam, Bihar and Tamil Nadu. The timber is soft and white and is used for making toys, packing cases, match boxes, planking, penholder and ply-wood. Its fruits yield soft fiber for pillows.

Mulberry-it is widely grown in Monsoonal areas. Its wood is soft and durable which is used for the manufacture of sports goods, i.e., hockey sticks, tennis rackets, badminton and squash rackets, presses and cricket stumps etc.

Jamun {Syzygium cumini)-It is a large tree which yields reddish-grey wood sometimes with darker markings, it is an average good wood for construction work and house building. It is also used for furniture and cabinet work.

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Woods from Evergreen Forests

1. Rosewood-it grows well along the slopes of the Western Ghats (Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala) and some parts of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. Its hard and fine-grained wood is dark purple w widely used in furniture making, gun-carriage wagon parts and floor boards and carriage wow a valuable decorative wood suitable forcer ornamental ply boards and veneers, Carefullected and manufactured Indian rosewood ply satisfy aircraft specifications.

2. Gurjan (Dipterocarpus turbinate curs in evergreen tropical forests of Assam, Bengal and Andaman’s. The wood is dull r brown in colour with somewhat coarse texture resin canals. It is extensively used for internal striation work. It is used for packing case boxes, paneling and flooring and carriage and construction. It is also a promising sleeper after treatment.

3. Telsur or Irrupt-it is largely found in Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Andaman’s and coast of India. The wood is very hard, strong durable, and therefore is largely used for ma truing boat, bridges, piles, masts, cart and rail sleepers.

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4. Toon-it is obtained from the foothill” the Himalayas. Although its wood is not very but it is durable. It is used for making tea-boxes, and furniture.

5. Ebony (Diospyros ebenum)-It is for the dry evergreen forests of Deccan, Karn Coimbatore, Malabar, Cochin and Travancore prefers well-drained rocky soil and grows well sandy loam. The sapwood is light yellowish often streaked with black. The heartwood is black, rarely with a few dark or light brown or go streaks. It has a metallic luster when smoothed heavy, straight-grained and even-textured. The wood is resistant to attack by insects and fungi are very durable. It is one of the most valuable w in the fancy wood market. It is used for or name carving and turnery and for special purpose decoration. It is used for veneers, inlaying, music instruments, sports goods, mathematical in strum piano keys and caskets.

6. Chaplas-it mostly occurs in the forest north-east India and the Western Ghats. The is strong and durable and hence is in great deem for ship-building, furniture making and pack boxes.

7. Nahar-it is mainly found in the west coast and in the forests of Assam. The wood is fairly strong and durable capable of being used for railway sleep­ers, keels and masts of boats, pit-props and piles.

8. Poon-it is found in Western Ghats and Kerala. The wood is very hard, can be easily sea­soned and is first-class structural timber, largely used in furniture-making and house-building.

Woods from the Himalayan Forests

1. Deodar (Cedrus deodara)-It grows in the north-western Himalayas from Kashmir to Garhwal between the height of 1500 m and 2500 m. It is of light yellow-brown color and possesses distinctive odour. It is a medium weight wood which is very sturdy in use and durable. It is also an easy timber to saw and work to a smooth finish. The timber is used for construction-work and for railway sleepers. It is also suitable for beams, floor boards, ports, window frames, light furniture and shingles.

2. Chirr (Pinus longifolia)-Chirr occurs in the Himalayas from Bhutan westwards between the elevation of 900 m to 1800 m. The wood is light reddish brown, moderately hard and is largely used for making tea chests, furniture, and match industry and railway sleepers. It yields resin and turpentine.

3. Blue Pine (Pinus excelsa)-It grows along the entire length of the Himalayas from Chumbi valley to Sikkim between the elevation of 1800 m and 3600 m. The wood is pink in color, moderately hard and of good quality. It is used for making doors, windows, and furniture and railway sleepers. It also yields resin and turpentine.

4. Silver Fir (Abies)-it is found in the north­western and eastern Himalayas at elevations from 2200 m to 3000 m. The wood is soft but not very durable. It is mostly used for planking, packing boxes, containers, wood pulp, paper and match sticks.

5. Spruce (Picea smithiana)-It grows in west­ern Himalayas at elevations from 2100 m to 3600 m. Its soft and white wood is used for construction- work, railway sleepers, cabinet making, packing cases and wood pulp.

6. Walnut (Juglans regia)-It is found in Kash­mir, Himachal Pradesh, Khasi hills and hills of Punjab. It is relatively light wood, works easily and finishes to a fine surface. Once dried it does not shrink, swell or split. The wood is used for musical instruments and cabinet work. It is used extensively in Kashmir and north India for carving. It is also used for gun stocks.

7. White Willow (Salix Alba)-It is a small tree found in the north-western Himalayas and in the valley of Kashmir. Its twigs are used for making baskets. Cricket bats are made of the wood.

8. Indian Birch-it is obtained from the higher slopes of the Himalayas. The wood is grayish in color, even textured and straight grained. It is largely used for furniture, plywood work, radio cabinets etc.

9. Cypress-it mostly occurs in the U.P. Hima­layas. The wood is durable and is used for making furniture.

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