Saturday, 25 February 2012

Wild fruit Trees in Uttarakhand on ICFRE Research Agenda

Written by Anil Singh

In its push to work on more people-centric researches, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), has reaffirmed the council’s pledge to work on such researches.

Addressing mediapersons in Dehradun, Director General ICFRE, Dr VK Bahuguna informed that ICFRE had been working in direction of people-centric research leading to livelihood opportunities and economic upliftment of farmers and forest-dependent communities living in 1,70 000 forest fringe villages in India –with especial emphasis on the villages belonging to the tribal and rural poor.

Informing the media, of a major shift in the research agenda of ICFRE; the DG informed that the new changes in the policy have put research agenda in a completely new direction – the direction of People Centric Research.

In order to achieve the future goals, the focus of ICFRE will be on improving the productivity of natural forest and plantations through tree improvement programmes and genetic engineering, informed DG.

New Initiatives and programmes:

Among new initiatives and programmes planned to be carried out by ICFRE include, Special programme-based research to meet the challenge of climate change and conservation of biological diversity.

Among the key thrust areas, clear cut goals have been laid down for the council and its scientists by adopting programme mode research with credible delivery system. Under this emphasis area -- Managing forest and forest products for livelihood support and economic growth; and importance to agroforestry, bamboo processing, non-timber forest resource development and its processing for value addition, will be thrust upon.

A Research which can be attractive to Uttarakhand people:

Research on wild fruits and important trees for livelihood sustainability (job creation) such as seabuckthorn (called Leh Berry in India), chironjee, kusum, mahua and the miracle drug from ganoderma mushroom (medicinally important mushroom) will be of special focus. Bahuguna said the ganoderma mushroom was useful for more than 20 aliments such as nervous disorder, kidney disorder, HIV and cancer.

The ICFRE under guidance of its scientist NSK Harsh has developed an eco-friendly cultivation protocol for ganoderma mushroom successfully.

ICFRE will put special emphasis on tree crop productivity, as increase in tree product crop and quality has the potential to meet the demand of industry and common man. In an effort to develop tree crops, recently clones of high productivity casurina, shishan, eucalyptus and poplar have been developed and released by the ICFRE.

Any breakthrough in Tree crop productivity and quality will be beneficial to society as many of these tress are conveniently cultivated by the farm forestry sector, without affecting the conventional crop sown (trees are sown on field boundaries).

A Request:

Many a times, Government backed researches like these, start their pilot projects in such a manner that the wild species in forests are severely affected. Hope that ICFRE, will conduct these programmes in a most contained manner; and will not demand any forest land for the experimentation.

Personally, I feel that the Uttarakhand Government should do a "Serious feasible study" on the forest resources of Uttarakhand; and don't tweak too much with its fragile Uttarakhand ecosystem. As commercial use of Wild plants and trees, will lead to exploitation of plants and trees. We have already seen the consequence of Ram Dev's movement on himalayan herbs, shrubs and trees; people have completely destroyed shrubs like 'Samyon', Kilmoda (its root is known as Darun Haldi in Ayurveda) etc.

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