Thursday, March 22, 2012

'Wavy grain' - The smugglers choice !

Some snippets from IFGTB 'Tree Growers Mela -2012:
Part - 4
Red Sanders – Way to identify a tree with wavy grained wood without cutting the tree:

In recent years, a variant of Red sanders species which has wavy-grained wood has leapt into sudden prominence because it is highly valued in the export market. Wood pieces with the wavy grain margin are graded as "A" grade and fetch a higher price than the non-wavy wood.
Trees with this variant character are rare in nature and they seem to show no apparent morphological differences to differentiate them from the normal-grained trees. Matters have become worse lately with illegal fellers and smugglers felling non-wavy grained timber for making wood chips and wavy grained timber for logs of size 90 cm girth and 3 to 5 feet which are later stuffed with other export goods for illegal export out of country. See the kink:The Hindu.

This secret to identify a tree with wavy grain wood without cutting the tree is the most intriguing problem for the scientists throughout the world.

Dr.Parthiban, an enterprising scientist of FC&RI, Mettupalayam, Tamilnadu approached this problem in a novel way by approaching the illegal feller himself and came to know that trees with wavy grain wood will be easily identified from their seeds which carry a characteristic feature (not revealed in this blog for the safety of this endangered tree) that can not be seen in the seeds of trees with non-wavy grained wood. The secret has been revealed at last at the ‘Tree Growers Mela – 2012 held at IFGTB, Coimbatore.

P. santalinus grows as a wild plant in Cuddapah and Kurnool districts in Andhra Pradesh and Arcot and Chingelpet districts in Tamil Nadu up to 500 m.

The name Santalinus refers to its name of red Sandalwood, which all its Indian titles signify, though it bears no relationship to Santalum. This wood was primarily a dye-styff in India, where it was mixed with sapan wood, for dyeing silk, cotton and wool.

Though there is no domestic market in India, plantations have been formed for its cultivation in Southern India, where it is very rare.

CAUTION 1: It is now declared as endangered because its natural habitat is constantly subjected to human pressure. Cutting of trees in natural forests and in protected areas is totally prohibited. The legal trade in INDIA is limited to occasional auction sale of confiscated timber by Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh Governments.

Cost of seedling: Seedlings are available @ Rs.8-10 per plant at almost all Govt and private nurseries.

CAUTION 2: The natural habitat of P. santalinus is hilly regions with hot dry climate. It is a strong light demander and does not tolerate overhead shade. It cannot withstand water-logged conditions. If planted in problematic soils and in soils with more clay content the plant will get stunted and there will not be any heart wood formation. In that case this high value crop will not fetch price of even fire wood.

Yield estimate: At a spacing of 15’ X 15’ roughly around 500 trees can be planted in a hectare and after 25 years minimum 250 to 500kg of heartwood/tree can be obtained. Thus one can expect 1,25,000 to 2,50,000 kg of wood from one hectare plantation. (This yield estimate is disputable and there is drastic variation in yield from place to place).

At an average market rate of Rs.150/kg an income of Rs.185 Lakhs to Rs.375 lakhs/ha is expected. (The current purchase price by the smugglers is several times more than what is given here). See the link: The Times of India.

CAUTION 3: The species is covered under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which forbids international trade of endangered timber as logs, but recent seizures in India, Nepal and in Southeast Asia suggest increasingly quantities are being smuggled.

 Red Sanders as fence along with Gliricidia in my farm.

Red sanders - Bark pattern.

(1) Natural Product Radiance, Vol.3, Mar–April 2004, pp. 83 - 84.
(2) jawaharlal.overblog
(4) and from other web sources.

2 Comentários:

Narender said...

Dear Mr Vishnu Shankar,

Thank you very much for your blog on Red Sanders. Please give more info if u have regarding the Economic yield from red sanders in less time Something like about 10 years.

You said heart wood hardening starts at 18 years. Does it mean before 18 years heart wood is not marketable !

I am considering various wood plants as plantation crops i.e
red sanders

I want to know which is can give economic yield early and has good market demand.

Thanking you

Vishnu Sankar said...

Dear Sir,

I am sorry to note that your selection of crops and the impatience to wait for a normal maturity age required by a tree indicates your urgency to make a quick buck or can be said as greed.

I would also like to note that please do not treat agriculture as industry and never prepare agriculture project to 'spin money' out of it.

Your mail forced me to write about 'Red sanders' today in my blog and it can be viewed at this link: Agroforestry. You can take up Sandal wood cultivation which will be good when compared with the other two tree varieties. The only risk is safeguarding the tree at the time of maturity.

Thanking you,

Yours friendly,
A.Vishnu Sankar

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