Friday, October 10, 2008

Timber Plantations

Dear Friends,

In general the following fast growing timber trees are recommended for the plains of southern India:

( Click on the tree name to get more details about it )

1.Gmelina arborea (Kumil, Kumula maram in Tamil)

2.Melia dubia (Malai Vembu in Tamil)

3.Casuarina junghuhniana (Indonesian / Junguniana Savukku in Tamil)

4.Ailanthus excelsa (Perumaram, Pee maram, Peematti in Tamil)

5.Grewia tiliaefolia (Thadasu, Sadachi in Tamil)

6.Khaya senegalansis (Kaya or Senegal Mahogany in Tamil)

7.Albizia falcataria (Kattumaram in Tamil)

8.Pterocarpus santalinus (Red Sanders/ Sivappu Santhanam in Tamil)

9.Acacia auriculiformis (Pencil Tree in Tamil)

10.Anthocephalus indicus / cadamba (Vellai Kadambu in Tamil)

But if you want to get returns within 4 to 5 years and very particular about it then select either Casuarina or Eucalyptus which may give you around Rs.15,000 to 20,000/Acre/Annum depending on the soil type, fertility and water availability of your farm.Valuable suggestions from the members are eagerly awaited.

Plant timber trees and prosper.


Vishnu Sankar

(The same matter is also posted at :

Suggestions to Tamil Nadu State Forest Commission

The Govt. of Tamil Nadu has formed a “State Forest Commission” (Environment and Forests (FR.Spl.A) Department, G.O.(Ms) No.87, Dated: 14.08.2007), a first of its kind in India, with a Chairman and two Member Secretaries. The commission has been asked to submit its recommendations to the Govt. within a year regarding the various aspects of Forests and Wildlife Management in Tamil Nadu, and to make recommendations in this regard.

The Terms of Reference of the State Forest Commission can be viewed at:-

The suggestions are welcome from NGOs, persons living near forests, farmers doing forestry, village level forest committee members, industries depending on forest produce, environmentalists, Scientists, forest officers and from the general public. They can be sent within a month to ‘The Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu State Forest Commission, Panagal Maligai, Saidapettai, Chennai – 600 015’ or to the E mail address:

I request this forum members and anybody who has interest in tree growing and forest conservation to forward their esteemed opinions to the commission for its kind consideration.

A copy of my E-mail (mostly about the Forest Department’s TCPL scheme) sent to “State forest commission” on 09/10/2008 is given here below for your valuable comments.

Suggestions to Tamilnadu State Forest Commission:

I am a farmer from Tirunelveli District, greatly benefited from the Tamilnadu Govt.'s 'Tree crops on patta land' ( TCPL) scheme. I hereby humbly submit some suggestions regarding the above scheme, with a fervent hope of turning it to more farmer friendly scheme and if implemented will naturally increase the forest cover in our state.

1. Farmers normally don't have the knowledge to select a Tree variety that suits his land's soil type and water quality. Under the TCPL scheme he is planting whatever variety he is getting from the Forest Dept. Due to wrong selection or supply most seedlings will perish at the field in the initial months itself. So before effecting supplies, the Dept. should take soil tests and water analysis tests in the identified farm land and should suggest to the farmer, suitable crops and the necessary cultivation techniques.

2. At present 'Drip irrigation subsidy' is not availabe to tree crops or agro forestry or Silviculture or timber plantations or whatever name we have for the cultivation of Trees. It is sad to note here that our Govt.rules and Acts not spared even border crops that act as fencing or as wind breakers to the farmer's field.
To start with Govt. may allow 'Drip irrigation subsidy' for the tree crops planted on the borders and bunds there by encouraging the farmers to go for these boundary crops in a large scale. Later after seeing the results we can think of providing drip irrigation subsidies to bulk tree plantations also. This is a short cut way to increase our state's green cover. So 'Drip irrigation subsidy' for the tree crops is the need of this hour.

3. More number of Pamphlets and brochures with details of tree varieties, cultivation techniques, their maturity, preferable soil types Etc. should be released by the Forest Department for the farmer's benefit.

4. It is advisable to provide plants of various types with different maturity periods (short, medium and long duration varieties) to the marginal farmers instead of a single variety there by assuring him of a regular income.

5. Maximum ceiling level ( number of plants) for Bulk plantings should be removed.

6. Incentives for the tree growers may be increased to 3 years from the present level of 2 years. It is better to release the incentive amount at the end of the year, after seeing the results, instead of at the year beginning as is the case now.

7. It is not possible to raise the required number of plants and all the varieties in the nurseries of Forest Department alone. So, we should entrust this work to interested individual farmers, NGOs and SHGs. The planning should be in such a way, so that only plants identified for that particular village are allowed to cultivate in the nursery. By this way the farmer can avoid the huge transportation costs, and he is free to take delivery of the plants whenever he feels that climatic conditions are favorable for planting.

8. In continuation of the above, the farmer who is willing to establish a nursery exclusively for timber plants may require bank finance. So, a recommendation letter from the Forest department to the concerned banker to the effect that the farmer is a technically qualified person in the nursery keeping and the buy-back of the raised plants from the nursery by the Dept is guaranteed.

9. Farmers who are willing to do Agro forestry but have lands in rain fed areas and drought prone areas usually don’t come forward due to the high cost of land development expenses. We should help them by providing subsidies in leveling the field, to form bunds and to create structures for rain water conservation.

10. The tree crops raised under ‘TCPL’ scheme should be allowed to cut on maturity without any beaurocratic hurdles. These scheduled timbers should be allowed for transportation after sale and the Dept. should issue “No Objection Certificate”.

11. The Govt. should give importance and priority to “Agro forestry” also, like the encouragement it gives to Horticulture and Spice crops. This can be done by enacting laws and by providing adequate funds to enhance acreage, coverage and productivity of timber crops so that farmers can be weaned away from water consuming traditional crops there by assuring them of appropriate returns.
Thanking You,
Yours truly,
Vishnu Sankar
The same subject was also discussed at:

Friday, October 3, 2008

Casuarina junghuhniana

Dear Friends,

I hope my various posts in the following website thread regarding the cultivation of Casuarina Junghuhniana (Tamil : Indonesian Savukku) makes an interesting reading.

They are listed herebelow: (16.03.2008)

It is better u go for the hybrid variety Casuarina Junghuhniana clones instead of the local Casuarina Equestifolia seedlings. Here is a list of some useful information about Casuarina :

Casuarina junghuhniana (Tamil : Indonesian Savukku) is a fast growing and highly drought-tolerant species, and it is mainly propagated by vegetative means. A LOW-cost micro-propagation technique for mass multiplication of male sterile hybrid Casuriana junghuhniana variety has been successfully developed by The Forest Department of Tamilnadu at it's research facility / nursery at Neyveli. Training and dissemination of information are free of cost.

Planting distance: Spacing 4x3 feet.
About 3,600 cloned seedlings are required for planting in one acre.

You can get plants from: Tamilnadu Forest Dept, Seshasayee paper board, Erode and TNPL, Pugalur, karur.

The plant attains maturity in 36 -42 months.

It has nitrogen fixing root nodules and hence, dependability on nitrogen supplement is less.

The current procurement price by the TNPL, Karur and Seshasayee paper board, Erode is about Rs.2,000 per tonne or the market price prevailing at the time of harvesting the produce (cutting and transport charges will be borne by the company). Good quality poles fetches upto Rs.3500 / ton at Bangalore and Bombay market.

Credit facilities :The paper companies also arranges credit facilities through nationalised banks at Rs.20,000 per acre and harvests the wood after 36 months
Approximate weight of one tree after 3.5 years: 18 - 20 kgs

Cost of cultivation in a acre for 3.5 years:Cost of plants 3600 x Rs.3.00 Rs. 10800

Land preparation, irrigation, weeding and others approx. Rs. 39200

Total cost of cultivation Rs. 50000

Yield and income:65 Tons / Acre@ Rs 2000 Rs.130000

Net Profit in 3. 5years /Acre Rs. 80000

A good profitable crop. Marketing is easier. Unlike Equestifolia, coppice (ratoon crop ) is possible in Junghuhniana. Enhances the fertility of the degraded soils by fixing "N' and by increasing the O.C content appreciably. Adaptable to any soil type. Growth is stunted in heavy clay and sodic soils. Moisture loss of the felled tree is very high, so market it immediately.

For more specific information contact leave your message here.

Thanking You,
Vishnu Sankar

Please go thro the link given here:
The Hindu : Sci Tech / Agriculture : New casuarina variety: money does grow on this tree

Returns shown in the link is highly exaggerated. For a realistic yield analysis please contact the Dean, Forest College and Research Institute, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Mettupalayam- 641 301, Tamil Nadu, email:, phone: 04254 - 222010. According to their cultivation trials Casuarina junghuhniana can be harvested in about three years (that is 36 month period) and have recorded a yield of 125 – 150 tonnes per hectare, according to Dr. K.T. Parthiban, Associate Professor of the Institute.

Even if you are able to harvest 200 Tons / Hect, the total Gross income will be only Rs.6.00 Lakhs at the nominal rate of Rs.3000 per Ton. Normally for publicity purposes, yields are estimated taking into account the growth of a single robust specimen only. You will be convinced if you visit any Junghuhniana
(Tamil : Indonesian Savukku) farm in your area personally, and find out for yourself the high percentage of genetic variation in the supplied lot (you will not find uniformity) and assess the actual yield and the price the farmer gets practically.

If you are still not satisfied with my arguments, please contact Dr.Kumaravel, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Dept. of Forests, Tamilnadu Ph. 044-24323343 OR Dr.Jain Allaudin, DCF,Dept of Forests Tamilnadu Ph. 044-22750297 since both of them have done extensive research on this subject.

Thank u,
Vishnu Sankar

A reputed member of the website 'Agriculture information .com' kayapakkam

(P.S.Nathan)replied to the above post on 29.03.2008 as under:
I have planted about 28 months ago Casurina Junghhuniana (Tamil : Indonesian Savukku) in about 12 acres in my farm at Villanganoor. I have visited Mettupalayam Forest Research Station about one year ago.

I believe the informations provided by Mr. Vishnushankar is closer to practical reality.
As to Uniformity, there is no problem. But growth figures projected by private sapling sellers are far from truth. Howeve, care to be taken for this variety is much higher than the common variety. My farm is located in Madhuranthakam taluk of Tamil Nadu and is about 100 kms from Chennai. We have followed the spacing on 5 by 5 feet. If any one is keen to have a look at the plantation you are free to get in tocuh with me. best regards. p.s. nathan
My posts regarding intercrops inside casuarina Junghuhniana(Tamil : Indonesian Savukku):
Intercrops with Casuarina
Dear Jay, Since Casurina varieties are normally planted in a narrow spacing of 2.5' x 3.5' or in some cases with even lower spacings of 2' x 3', please avoid long term / annaul crops for intercropping. Only short duration crops like minor / major millets, Maize, Sun Flower and some Vegetables are ideal for intercropping. AVOID INTERCROPS ONCE THE CASUARINA ATTAINS THE AGE OF 6 MONTHS.
Vishnu Sankar
Effect of spacing in Casurina plantation
Dear Friend, Spacing determines the girth of the planted casuarina. In closely planted fields, girth / Wt of individual tree obtained will be less but the overall tonnage on fourth year may be more or less equal to that of casuarina planted with wide spacings. But after 4th year variation between the two will be drastic.
Vishnu Sankar
A senior member of the same website 'Sampada Farms Raghu Ram' aobserved to my posts as under:
Casurina with coppce growth.
For Superior Casuarina junghuhniana plants developed with the Unieversity technology are available. Special variety brought from INDONESIA, first time in INDIA Can tolerate water stress .In 4 years upto 50 - 70 tons in rainfed irrigation and with drip irrigation 100 tons yield
You can harvest three times for every four years. This tree Casuarina junghuhniana is with coppice growth. You can personally see and visit the farms. Talk to the farmers. Then u can plant. Good and idle for large scale plantation.
For other information, you can refer Sri Vishnusankar's posting in this thread.
Raghu Ram

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cost of cultivation of Casuarina junghuhniana

Dear farmer friends,

I have given here below cultivation cost figures and yield estimates for Casuarina Junghuhniana (Tamil : Indonesian Savukku) which is becoming more popular among the farmers of southern India particularly Tamilnadu. Please note that the cost figures and yield estimates are only symbolic and sketchy. The calculations may vary depending upon the fertility of the soil, spacing, dosage of fertilizer, irrigation schedule; proper and timely pruning and other related Good Agriculture Practices.

Cost of cultivation of Casuarina Junghuhniana in 1 Acre for 4 years:


Sl. No.



I year

II year

III year

IV year


Material Cost


Cost of male sterile hybrid plants raised in polybags or in protrays @ Rs.3.00 x 3600 plants (4’ X 3’ Spacing)






Transportation cost






Operation and Labour


Ploughing 3 times and forming of ridges and furrows using tractor






Cost of digging pits, Filling with Neem cake ,FYM & Phorate and Planting @ Rs.1.00 / plant






Labour charges for gap filling, Irrigation. pump maintenance plant protection and pruning






De weeding (I yr 8, ii yr 3, iii & iv yr 2) @ Rs.600 per acre (Use power weeder)








FYM (Initial as basal)






N:P:K as recommended






Pesticide / Fungicide


To control borer,stem canker, die back and wilt








Live hedge (not considered)


Drip irrigation (not considered)


Unforeseen expenditure



Harvesting cost


Price of logs given here below is exclusive of cutting and transportation. Cost will be borne by the buyer.








Interest on Bank borrowings ( approx )



TOTAL cultivation cost (A+B+C+D+E+F+G) Rs. 55,000


Yield in fertile soil with GAP: 65 Tons / Acre @ Rs 2000 Rs. 1,30,000
Sale of pruned material on II & III years
Rs, 3,000

Sale of stem tips that are below 1.25” thickness and normally left behind by the buyer

after harvest on IV yr alone will fetch Rs, 7,000

Sub Total Rs. 1,40,000

Net income after IV year (I – H) Rs. 85,000

  • Please note that a small fraction of farmers were getting a yield of even 80Tons and above in an acre at the end of 4th year and majority were able to get only 50 Tons – 70Tons from 4 years to even after 5th year will explain many questions on the yield front. So a realistic,achievable target of (Average yield ) 65 tons / Acre was taken for the estimates.
  • A high dosage of fertilizers than the recommended NPK dosage has been arrived for the estimates.
  • The cost of removing the basal left out cut portion of the stem after harvest and its adjoining root system were not considered since the farmer will naturally go for the ratoon crop.
  • In the ratoon crop farmers will get more income because expenditure on planting, cost of planting material and gap filling are NIL.
  • Casuarina Junghuhniana, its genetic mutants and other related hybrid varieties can be had from Forest Extension Division, The Forest Dept., Tamil Nadu free of cost under TCPL (Tree Crops on Patta Lands) Scheme.

I heartily welcome any kind of criticisms, doubts and suggestions to improve on this subject. An extract of this report was also posted in:

Vishnu Sankar

To know about Melia Dubia Cultivation: Click here

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