Three institutes of Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education , have developed 20 high-yielding varieties of plant species. The Variety Releasing Committee (VRC) of ICFRE approved the release of the new varieties at a meeting held on February 26. The Institute had been working on the development of these new varieties for more than a decade. The ten improved varieties have been developed for Melia dubia and three clones of Eucalyptus terticornis, the timber of which is in high demand in the industry.
The improved varieties of Melia, popularly known as Dreake or Malabar Neem, have an average of 34.57 cubic meter per hectare productivity per annum. These varieties also have an excellent bole form which is a highly desirable characteristic in the plywood industry.
The improved variety of the Eucalyptus has an average productivity of 19.44 cubic meter per hectare per annum. Earlier the productivity of the Eucalyptus seed was 5-7 cubic meter per hectare per annum. The new varieties are also resistant to pink disease and wall gasp.
Researchers at Institute of Forest Genetic and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore, have developed five inter-specific hybrids of Casuarina equisetifolia X Casuarina junghuhniana for use as timber. Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur, has also developed two varieties of medicinal plant Rauvolfia serpentina.
The developed varieties go through stringent long field trials and testing before they are released for common use. The VRC meeting during which the new varieties were released was held under the chairmanship of Director General, Forest and Special Secretary, Dr. S.S Negi who granted approval for the release of these varieties.
The three institutes that have developed the varieties are – Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Coimbatore and Tropical Forest Research Institute, Jabalpur. Director General, ICFRE and Co-Chair of VRC, Dr. Shashi Kumar, Director, TFRI, Dr. Prakasham, Director, FRI, Dr. Savita, Director, IFGRB, Dr. Prashanth and two experts of the subject matter, Dr. D.K Khurana, Dr. Vishnu Bhatt, Shri Omkar Singh PCCF (HoFF), AGMUT and Dr. Amrinder Kaur, PCCF (HoFF), Haryana, were also present at the VRC meeting.