Institute of Wood Science & Technology (IWST), Bengaluru, one of the institutes of Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE) was established in 1988. Earlier, the then Government of Mysore had set up a Forest Research Laboratory (FRL) at Bengaluru in 1938. In the initial years, work was carried out mainly on properties and uses of different timber species, essential oils, other non-wood forest products and protection of wood and trees from pests and diseases. In 1956, this laboratory was organized as a regional centre of Forest Research Institute and Colleges, Dehra Dun. In 1977, Sandal Research Centre was set up to undertake research on wide-ranging aspects of genetics, silviculture and management of sandal.
The Institute has a vision to generate, preserve, disseminate and advance knowledge, technologies and solutions for addressing issues arising out of interaction between people, forests and environment on a sustained basis through research, education and extension. The mandate of the Institute is to conduct research on Wood Science and Technology as a national objective and focus its research activities to important forestry research needs of the State of Karnataka and Goa at regional levels.
Core Research Areas:
1- Wood Anatomy and Properties
2- Developing Technologies for Wood Processing and Wood Composite Materials.
3- Tree Improvement and Propagation – Agroforestry and Silviculture.
4- Forest and Wood Protection.
5- Wood Chemistry and Bio-energy.
Karnataka and Goa
Key Achievements: (Click on link to view detail)
1: Managing Forests and Forests Products for Livelihood Support and Economic Growth:
Improved utilization of lesser known and plantation grown timbers from south India
An understanding of anatomical, physical, and mechanical properties of plantation species helps in classifying and grading the timber for various end uses. In promoting these species as a substitute for the traditional timber, scientific data plays a pivotal role. In this endeavor, IWST has been working to evaluate the properties of these timbers. This led to generation of scientific data on number of lesser known/plantation grown species. The generation of scientific data helps in classifying the timber for various end uses based on their physical and mechanical properties. In order to reduce pressure on use of primary timbers from natural forests, a number of lesser known timbers and timbers from plantations have been studied for their various physical, mechanical and anatomical properties to find out their suitability in different applications. Suitability indices of these species for different potential uses such as construction, door and window shutters, furniture, handicrafts, agricultural implements, sports goods, tool handles etc. were worked out and recommendations were made for various end uses.
IWST has extensively worked on development of Wood Polymer Composites (WPC) technology wherein thermoplastic like polypropylene (PP), high density polyethylene (HDPE), etc. are reinforced with natural fibers. The technology offers a unique opportunity of making plastic products greener, environmentally friendly and adding value to the woody waste, forest weeds, agro-residues and other natural lingo-cellulosic fibers.
The non-compatibly of natural fibers with thermoplastics is one of the major challenges in developing such composite materials. IWST has synthesized a novel coupling agent that improves the compatibility of plastic with natural fibers. The composite material prepared using this coupling agent has exhibited markedly superior mechanical properties than conventionally used coupling agents. The developed composites are stronger and stiffer than virgin polymers or conventional inorganic filler based thermoplastic composites, moisture resistant and dimensionally stable. This composite material has large scale applications in profile extruded and injection moulded utility products. Few Products like deckings, writing pens, hangers, garden pots, etc have been demonstrated using WPC granules developed at IWST. The institute has applied an Indian patents on the technology and also transferred the technology on commercial basis.
Nanocellulosic whiskers from bamboo
A method for producing nano-cellulose whiskers from bamboo pulp has been standardized. Three distinct methods of isolating nano whiskers, a) acid hydrolysis, b) enzymatic hydrolysis and c) TEMPO-mediated oxidation of native bamboo fibers were evaluated. The standardized process requires very low energy inputs and cause less thermal degradation of fibers. Bamboo nano-fibers were found to have diameter of the order of few nanometers and very high aspect ratios (5-15 nm in width and a few micrometers in length). Transparent and flexible films bamboo based nanofiber were prepared. The films exhibited very high storage modulus (~ 100 Gpa). The developed nanocellulose has tremendous potential applications in specialized composite materials, biotechnology, agricultural, etc.
Thermal Modification of Wood
Thermal modification enhances certain desirable properties towards the value-addition of traditionally poor quality woods as a substitute for certain high value species. Heat treatment of wood at high temperature (150-250°C) in inert environment is one of the most promising wood modification techniques to improve the dimensional stability, colour appearances and decay resistance against bio-organisms. Different properties including dark brownish color can be controlled by varying the process parameters. Heat treated wood does not require any further preservative chemical treatment to enhance its life. Due to its good weather resistance, heat treated wood is also suited for outdoor applications-external cladding, window frames, garden furniture etc. Heat treatment process has been developed for value-addition of locally grown plantation timbers such as Rubberwood (Hevea brasiliensis), Acacia (Acacia auriculaeformis), Eucalypts (Eucalypts tereticornis), Melia dubia, poplaretc. Improved characteristics of heat treated timber offer the timber product industry many potential and attractive new opportunities for the use of non-durable plantation timbers. Theprocess know-how is available for transfer to the industry.
Weathering and surface protection of wood
IWST has been engaged in extensive research on protection of wood from weathering with particular emphasis on chemical modification, heat treatment and surface coatings. Performance of wood modified with variety of chemicals (acid anhydrides, acid chlorides, alkylene oxides) was studied with an aim to improve dimensional stability, photo-stability and biological resistance of wood. Some of these systems have been found effective. Performance of coating can be remarkably improved by chemical modification of wood substrate prior to coating. Solvent free acetylation of wood with acetic anhydride in presence of NBS and iodine as catalyst was carried out under conventional and microwave heating. NBS and I2 were found to be an efficient catalyst of esterification of wood. A significant level of acetylation was achieved within few minutes of exposure to microwave heating when no excess of acetic anhydride was used. Modified wood showed good hydrophobicity and dimensional stability. A process of acetylation of solid wood with isopropenyl acetate (IPA) has been developed. Improved dimensional stability, UV and fungal resistance of modified wood indicates IPA as a promising reagent since there is no acid by-product of reaction as observed in case of other esterification reactions.
Microwave Drying of Wood
Wood drying below fiber saturation point is highly energy intensive and time consuming operation and majority of drying degrades occurs in this region. The institute has designed and developed a prototype of microwave wood drying system. The system is efficient in drying wood below fiber saturation point. The microwave system developed reduces drying time from days to hours and the quality of drying is superior to conventionally kiln dried wood.
Being biodegradable material, wood needs protection to enhance its service life. Current focus is on eco-friendly wood preservatives prepared from plant extractives and seed oils. Oil of Pongamia piñata seeds (with or without copper) has been found to be promising as wood preservative. A simple Sap displacement technique to treat green poles/bamboo at felling sites is standardized. Modified Boucherie process developed by the institute has gained wide acceptance and is commonly used to rapidly treat green poles/bamboo.
Nano-based copper wood preservatives:
Nano-based waterborne micronized copper formulation has been used for treating various less durable wood species such as rubberwood, Acaia auriculaeformis and Melia dubia as an alternate to traditionally used CCA wood preservatives. The treated wood showed lower amount of copper leaching and did not affect the mechanical properties of the wood. The impregnated wooden stakes showed excellent durability against the termite attack in the field conditions. Outcome of the research work established that micronized copper as an advanced, effective and cheaper alternative to the conventional preservatives.
Nano-object embedded wood coatings
Protection of coating material and wood substrate from UV radiations is important for the long-term performance under outdoor exposure. Nano-metal oxides embedded wood coatings has potential for providing protection from harmful UV radiation in outdoor environment. Method of uniform dispersion of nanoparticles in polyurethane coatings based on functionalization of the nanoparticles with a silanes (3-glycidoxypropyltrimethoxy silane) was developed. UV resistance of rubberwood coated with three nano metal oxides, viz., zinc oxide, cerium oxide and titanium dioxide was evaluated. Dispersion of nanoparticles in PU coatings significantly restricted the colour changes and photo-degradation of wood polymers.
Improved wood by Bio-based polymer impregnation
One of the most practical methods of wood modification is furfurylation. Furfury alcohol is a polymerizing chemical that causes wood to swell and most of the swelling becomes permanent by homopolymerization. Impregnation of furfuryl alcohol, a bio-based chemical, into wood with suitable catalyst and its curing by heating resulted in different weight percent gain depending on the concentration of furfuryl alcohol solution used. Modification of secondary timbers with furfuryl alcohol imparted improved dimensional stability and decay resistance.
Non-destructive testing of wood
Ultrasonic method was explored as a non-destructive technique to detect the hidden defects (mainly hollowness) in the logs/billets. The data on old doors, windows, used frames and shutters were evaluated both by conventional and ultrasonic NDT method in order to assess the strength degradation with time. Both methods were in agreement indicating that ultrasonic method is useful to find condition of wood used in structures and will give a guidance for reusability of the same.
A computer based test setup was designed to determine the acoustical properties of wood using impedance tube method as per ASTM E1050-98 standard. The study also helped in grading and selection of plantation timbers for their use as sound insulation material for paneling applications. The developed test setup was also applied for evaluating the performance of musical instruments which helped in scientific selection of non-conventional timber species for manufacturing musical instruments.
Microwave assisted oil extraction and biodiesel production
Microwave irradiated seed pre-treatment followed by oil extraction using solvent (hexane) was found as potential method for obtaining total recoverable lipids in less time. The increase in mass transfer coefficients was obtained because of rupture of cell membranes and oozing of seed oil to the surface of seeds. In addition to that, the development of permanent pores enables the oil to move through the seeds freely and thereby reducing the time of extraction. The desired properties of the oil were also found unchanged. The process may be useful for oil extraction from various types of seeds
Microwave irradiation has been used for the production of biodieselfrom Pongamia pinnata seed oil to fulfill the increasing demand of heat and energy from renewable resources. The result of the study suggested that 0.5% sodium hydroxide and 1.0% potassium hydroxide catalyst concentration were optimum for biodiesel production from P. pinnata oil under microwave heating. There was a significant reduction in reaction time for microwave induced transesterification (5 min) as compared to conventional heating (2 to 3 hrs).
New aroma / essential oils from sandalwood powder
New aroma/ essential oils (acidified exhausted Sandalwood powder, AESP, 0.6 % yield and sapwood acidified, SWA, 0.9 % yield) have been obtained from chemical conversion of exhausted sandalwood powder and sandal sapwood powder. Both these oils were found to exhibit strong almond like note and different characteristics and composition from those of natural sandalwood oil. They have potential for exploitation in the fragrance and other allied industries.
Gender identification of dioecious forestry species
Forestry species may be either monoecious or dioecious in nature, depending on type of flowers with them. In case of monoecious species, both male and female flowers are present in same plant. In case of dioecious species, the plant bears only one type of flowers, either male or female flowers. Hence male and female plants are entirely different and are called as dioecious species. Some of the examples of dioecious forestry spp. are Garcinia gummigata (Syn : Garcinia cambogia), Garcinia indica, Myristica fragrans and Simoruba glauca etc.The cultivation procedure for different dioecious forestry species varies. During cultivation or in natural condition, the presence of a male plant is essential for every seven to eight female plants. During afforstation programme, the identification of gender of a sapling is very important. Institute has developed a simple, cost effective and user friendly method for gender identification. In addition,a simple, less expensive field method has been developed to detect high yielder of sandalwood tree based on Peroxidase isoenzyme activity in living bark tissue. However, a lot of trails need to be done before standardization of technology.
Natural resistance of imported timbers in Indian condition
Durability class of Indian timbers against fungi and termites in terrestrial condition have been documented. Natural resistance of imported woods comprising about 90% woods imported in our country was also estimated. Based on the cumulative natural resistance of the imported timbers the highly resistant woods were Dryobalanops aromatica,Tectona grandis (from five countries),Shorea laevis, S. marcoptera, S. robosta, Pterocarpus soyauxii (from two countries) and Xylia dolabriformis. Quercus robur wasmoderately resistant to termite attack. Fagus sylvatica (from two countries), Fagus grandifolia, Fraxinus angustifolia, F. excelsior, Acer pseudoplatanus were susceptible to termite attack. The generated information was incorporated in the user manual on imported timber published by the Institute. A long term study to determine the durability of imported timbers as per Bureau of Indian Standard is underway.
Microbial biosynthesis of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from wood waste
The result revealed application of waste materials (wood wastes) as a substrate for production of bioplastics (Polyhydroxy Alkanoates).Seven strains of white rot fungi belonging to three different fungal class of the division Basidiomycota and Ascomycota was identified for degradation of wood wastes, especially the lignin portion. The growth morphology of the fungi grown on PDA were screened for their ability to grow on wood substrate, of all examined strains, Trametes versicolor and Trametes pini growth was adequate.Most of the bacterial isolates from different environmental sources showed positive result with Nile blue A staining, a specific dye for the of PHA granules.The chromatographic profile of membrane treated wood hydrolysate obtained by GC-MS, among the sugars, xylose was the most abundant monosaccharide component, and accounted for more than 85% of the total sugar content in the hemicellulosic hydrolysate, followed by mannose, rhamnose, and glucose. The accumulation of PHA in the form of granules using fluorescence microscopy was detected, produced by Pseudomonas lignicola under light microscope.
A Metarhizium based mycoinsecticide (peststat) for management of forest pests
A Metarhizium based fungal bio-pesticide, both as liquid and powder formulation, is developed for management of certain economically important insect pests on selected forestry species. These formulations are unique and contain a mixture of two pathogenic strains of the fungus isolated from the field. Two isolates are incorporated in the product in order to produce a more pronounced and synergistic effect on the target pests and also to tackle multiple pest species with the same product. Certain specific low cost proteinaceous substances are also incorporated into the media to augment virulence during mass multiplication and scaling up production. At formulation level also, innovative techniques are developed to augment virulence. For spraying and tree bark applications, oil based formulations are suggested and for soil application, a powder formulation is recommended which can be applied by mixing with FYM, saw dust, coco-peat or press mud as per the situation and the kind of target pest. Different application methods are also recommended as per the nature and severity of attack. Since the raw materials used are cheap and production techniques are not involving much of instrumentation, the production cost will be very low and comparable to any other insecticide in the market or even lower.
Bio-ecology of insect pests and their management
Detailed studies were conducted on the Heart wood borer of teak and developed integrated pest management practices. The information was published in the form of a technical bulletin. Investigations on different aspects of the gall midge inducing flower gall of Pongamia pinnata was carried out.Based on the information, management practices including chemical and cultural practices have been developed. The findings were published as technical bulletin to guide the farmers for the management of gall inducers of pongam. The major insect pests of nurseries on important tree species of Karnataka are being documented and identified the major insect pests. Nursery pest management practices are being developed on the major insect pests.
Eco-friendly AM fungi in forestry to get good planting stock and survival percentage with increased productivity
One of the most widely distributed, ecologically and economically important fungal groups are the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. They have been shown to increase crop yield and nutrient uptake, enhance resistance to plant pathogens, drought tolerance, and to stabilize soil structure. Mycorrhizal technology has greater relevance in establishing nursery of forestry speciesand afforestation programme. Experiments were carried out by treating forestry species with AM inoculum in nursery viz. Santalum album, Tectona grandis, Grevillea robusta, Acacia auriculiformis, Eucalyptus camaldulensis, Casuarina equisetifolia (Figure-1), Wrightia tinctoria, Bombax ceiba, Cassia fistula, Dalbergia latifolia, , Lagerstromia frasigenica and somemedicinal plants like Rauvolfia serpentina, Aerva lanata, Helicteres isora, Garcinia indica and Bryophylum calycinum. The AM fungal inoculation of tree seedlings in the nursery resulting in successful out plantation in mine reject (degraded) area imply that mycorrhizal fungal symbiosis is a beneficial biotechnology for afforestation programme and has great potential use in tropical forestry.
2: Biodiversity Conservation and Ecological Security:
A germplasm bank consisting of 102 genotypes of Dendrocalamusstocksii collected from Western ghathas been established at BalashebSawant Konkan DrishiVidyapeeth (Agriculture University), at Dapoli. Multilocational clonal trials of D. stocksii were also established at Central Nursery, Honnavar of Karnataka Forest Department and Gottipura Field Station of IWST.
Tissue culture protocols for raising Embeliaribes, an important endangered medicinal plant species of Western Ghats has been standadized and 1500 micropropagated plants are produced and kept for hardening at field nursery of Katgal, Agumbefor field planting.
Standardized seed germination, desiccation sensitivity and storage conditions for rare/endangered and threatened tree species of wet evergreen forest of western ghats such as - Garciniagummigutta, Dysoxylummalabaricum, Canariumstrictum, Hydrnocarpuspentandra, Madhuca, insignisandMesuaferrea. Evaluated seed quality and genetic diversity of unimproved and improved (SPA and CSO) populations of teak.
Studies on structure, diversity and regeneration status of four permanent preservation plots in Karnataka revealed that there was considerable changes in tree density, basal area, girth increment and also in diversity index such as species richness, shanon’s index, evenness index, similarity index and species composition
Identification of whiteflies from Western Ghats
Significant contribution has been made on Indian whitefly (Aleyrodidae: Hemiptera) taxonomy. Eight new genera viz., Cockerelliella Sundararaj & David, Davidiella Dubey &Sundararaj, Distinctaleyrodes Dubey & Sundararaj, Fippataleyrodes Sundararaj & David, Icfrealeyrodes Dubey & Sundararaj, KanakarajiellaDavid & Sundararaj, Pseudcockerelliella Sundararaj and Vanaleyrodes Pushpa and Sundararaj have been erected. So far 131 species of whiteflies have been described new to science from India. In addition 12 species of whiteflies are reported for the first time from India. A technical bulleting detailing the whitefly pests in nurseries and their management has been prepared and published.
Bio-invasion through wood import
The issues related to bio-invasion by import of wood and wood products into the country has been studied and found that wood import might be providing way for bioinvasion. In this line generated information on the following aspects - Enumeration of the existing legalities of importing wood and wood products in India, investigation on the quarantine measures taken up by exporting countries, elucidation of the chances of pest introduction through import of wood and wood products and its spread potential, looking into the feasibility of establishing post import quarantine facilities in India.
Biodiversity of wood inhabiting fungi in the rainforests of Makutta, Western Ghats
A total of 50 species of macrofungi belonging to 29 families, 38 genera were enumerated of which all the samples were identified upto species level. Some of the currently identified species are Artomyces pyxidatus, Bondarzewia berkeleyi, Calostoma cinnabarina, Calvatia cyathiformis, Cantharellus cibarius, Clavulina cristata, Clitocybe nuda, Coprinus comatus, Crucibulum leave, Daedaleopsis confragosa, Daedelea quercina, Entoloma bloxami, Fomes fomentarius, Galerina marginata, Polyporus varius, Pseudofistulina radicata, Stereum ostrea, Trametes elegans. Among the collected species Polyporus sp. occurs more prevalent during pre-monsoon and post monsoon. First report on Abortiporus biennis, Calostoma cinnabarina, Coprinus comatus, Pseudofistulina radicata, Stereum ostrea were made from this study area. A manual on field guide for identification of macrofungi was published as an extension outcome of this project.
Entomofaunal diversity and their interactions on Indian sandal wood (Santalum album Linn.)
The institute has documented the entomofaunal diversity in the Sandalwood provenances in south India as well as on Sandalwood under cultivation in areas outside forests. Developed the expertness to authentically identify the insects breeding on Sandalwood and developed possible management practices. A manual briefing the insect pest and disease problem of sandalwood and their management has been published. Extensive survey revealed that among the stem borers of sandalwood the heartwood borer Aristobia octofasciculata and red stem borer Zeuzera coffeae are more prevalent in natural forest areas of Karnataka. In the sandalwood plantations Z. coffeae is the major stem borer distributed in all the districts of Karnataka while the infestation of stem borer Purpuricenus sanguinolentus is prevalent in Bangalore rural district. P. sanguinolentus passed through five instars, followed by pupal stage and adult emergence. It is univoltine and completes only one generation in a year. Severe infestation of stem borers often causes death of growing coppices and young plants. The small girth plants are more vulnerable to P. sanguinolentus infestation. It was found parasitized by four species of hymenopteran parasitoids. Though the level of infestation of individual borers is low the sandalwood succumbs to death due to the collective infestation of stem borers. Soil application of seed cakes was found not effective in reducing the borer infestation. Among insecticides soil application of insecticides Fipronil 0.3 G @ 40 gm/plant and Cartap hydrochloride @ 25 gm/ plant were found effective against the infestation of borers.
3: Forests and Climate Change:
Assessment of decay of wood in the forests and impact on methane (CH4) release contributing towards climate change
The institute has carried out a study on decay of wood in the forests and methane release thereby. The result confirms that dead trees in the forest release significant quantity of CH4 and henceforth could be another source contributing global warming. Our data suggest that the average CH4 emission from dead trees in Rosewood-1949.89 ppm, Matthi- 4630.36 ppm, Teakwood- 1561.92 ppm, Seesam- 3059.45 ppm, Dindiga- 1470 ppm, Matthi (Dharwad) - 2672.64 ppm, and Unknown species (IWST) - 10717 ppm. This data will be first of it generated from tropical forest region of the world and may be helpful for further analyzing the atmospheric methane budget. The coastal zones of Karnataka (Kundapura Forest Division), mean CH4 emission was highest as 11976.73 ppm in comparison to the emission from other sites. It shows that this particular agroclimatic zone is found to favorable for methanogenic bacteria, might be the humid factor which plays a major role in tree CH4 emission. Seasonal CH4 emission data obtained from Kundapura Forest Division confirmed that effect of temperature variation on CH4 emission. We obtained CH4 emission high in summer (11976.73 ppm) than winter (152.84 ppm). It also confirmed that CH4 produced inside the tree was only through microbial process. From this study, we found that time variation caused huge quantities of CH4 emission from dead tree. The highest CH4 emission seen 78690 ppm were incubation period was 24 hrs from IWST Campus tree and same stands recorded the lowest CH4 emission 20 ppm were incubation period was 2 hrs. Methanogenium sp. was the bacterial species which was found to be comparatively more significant in methanogenic process. Isolation and identification of anaerobic microorganisms (Methanogenium sp.) from trunk wood confirm the phenomenon of CH4 production from dead trees under anaerobic condition. Therefore these dead trees (newly emerging sources of methane emission) should never be neglected.
4: Forest Genetic Resource and Tree Improvement:
Package of practices for raising quality stock of Sandalwood
IWST has standardized seed collection, handling, storage, germination and raising of quality seedlingof Sandalwood. Freshly collected Sandalwood fruits are de-pulped and dried in shade. Seeds are soaked for 16 hours in Gibberellic acid (500 ppm) before sowing in germination beds with a dimension of 1x10m composed of fine river sand with underlying gravel layer. Seedlings at 2-3 leaf stage are pricked and transplanted in 270cc root trainers containing potting media consisting sand: soil: compost in the ratio 35:15:50 with Mimosa pudica or Cajanauscajan as primary host. Media is supplemented with NPK + micronutrients as foliar spray at 15 days periodic intervals. As prophylactic measure Dithane M-45 (0.25%) and Ekalux (0.02%) are sprayed at monthly intervals. Healthy plantable seedlings having height of 30-50 cm and collar diameter of 3.0 -4.0 mm turning brown at the base, referred to as quality planting stock is ready in 6 months time.
Macropropagation technique for raising Dendrocalamus stocksii
IWST has standardized an easy method of propagation ofDendrocalamusstocksii by using culm cuttings. The infrastructure requirement and methods for selection, collection, preparation of cutting for rooting and finally obtaining quality rooted stock of bamboo plants have been standardized. Double and triple noded culm cuttings are collected from 1-2 year old culms from healthy identified clumps in February-March after removing side branches with secateurs and dipping in 0.25% baiting for 10-15 minutes as prophylactic measure. The cuttings are treated with 2500 ppm IBA in powder form or in solution as pulse treatment and laid horizontally in 1x 5m sand beds and covered with 2cm of sand layer and watered regularly. Sprouts appear in 10-15 days and rooting is completed by 45-60 days. The cuttings are then transferred to 1000cc or 1500cc polybags containing FYM: sand: soil in the ratio 40:50:10 enriched with neem cake, SSP and Bavistin as prophylactic measure. The plants are initially kept in agro-shade net for 2-3 weeks and further in open nursery. Plants with 2-3 tillers and well developed miniature rhizomes in 1500cc polybag are ready in 6 months for out planting.
Tree Improvement and Conservation
Carried out studies on variation in heart wood and oil content of clonal plantation of sandal wood clones and revealed that heart wood and oil content was varying in different clones and in a few clones there was no heart wood formation even after 20 years of age. Studies carried on of photosynthetic and water use efficiency revealed that it varies with the clones and could be useful for the selection and improvement programme of Sandal wood and eucalyptus. Core samples were collected from the sandal wood trees from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Assam to assess variation in heartwood, sap wood and oil content. Isolated DNA from the sandal population from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Assam to evaluate genetic diversity. Studies conducted on the effect of various chemicals and growth hormones on flowering in teak and found that paclobutracol (49/ tree) was most effective in inducing flowering in non-flowering and low flowering clones. Evaluated variation in seed characters and oil content in 24 provenances of Jatrophacurcas and established germplasm bank. Seed collected from 25 plus trees of Pongamia pinnata from Karnataka exhibited variation in seed characters and oil content and established progeny trial. Variation in morphological and genetic trials have been documented in Aegle marmelos and Feronia elephantam.
Tree improvement for better wood
The tree improvement of commercially important species can be made meaningful when relevant wood quality parameters are incorporate in the breeding population for the future resources. In this case, genetic and environmental control on wood quality parameters needs to be evaluated. Wood properties are highly variable within and between trees of the same species. The institute has designed systems for measuring acoustic velocity in logs and sawn timber based on resonance frequency of longitudinal vibrations which in turn provide information of wood stiffness, an important property for structural application of wood. The institute is developing and standardizing non-destructive and rapid methods/tools for in-situ wood quality (stiffness and density) assessment in standing trees. These techniques help assessing natural variability in populations for wood quality, identification of superior clones/families based on wood quality and assist in selection of superior trees based on wood traits in breeding programmes. Wood quality assessment has been carried out in large number of trees of Acacia, Eucalypts, Melia dubia, Poplar and Casuarinas.
High magnitude of inherent growth stresses is a serious problem in efficient utilization of many fast grown plantation species particularly eucalypts. The institute has developed expertise in assessing growth strains in standing trees and logs non-destructively based on wire strain gauge technique. Precise information on distribution and magnitude of growth stresses may help in adopting appropriate processing techniques and deciding upon apt use of timber. A fast and reliable method is also developed to assess growth strains/stresses in very young stems (Seedling stages) with a special emphasis on identifying superior genotypes in breeding trees with low magnitude of growth stresses.
Macro and micro-propagation of selected important trees and bamboo species
Developed and refiningmicropropagation protocols of sandalwood for the production of clonal planting material of superior genotypes (high oil / heart wood content) through axillary shoot proliferation, somatic embryogenesis and adventitious shoot induction and established a field demonstration trial of micro-propagated plants in farmer field in Karnataka. Developed micro-propagation protocols of Melia dubia and Embeliaribes a threatened high value medicinal plant. Developed/refined macro and micropropagation and protocols of Tectonagrandis and Eucalyptus tereticornis.
Established bambusetum/germplasm bank consisting 35 species of bamboo. Developed /refined micropropagation protocols of industrially important bamboo species viz; Bambusabambos, B.nutans, B.pallida, Dendrocalamusstrictus, D. stocksii, D. brandisii, D. asper and Guaduaangustifolia. Established vegetative multiplication centre of bamboo and developed macro-propagation protocols of Dendrocalamusstocksii, D.brandisii and Guaduaangustifolia. Based on the macro and micropropagation protocols developed, produced about 30,000 plants of industrially important bamboo species and established demonstration trials in about 60 ha area in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. The institute has established multilocational field performance trials of eight industrially important bamboo species.
Evaluated genetic fidelity of micro-propagated plants of Sandalwood, Melia dubia, Bambusabambus, B.nutans, B.pallida, D. strictus, D. stocksiiand D. brandisii using RAPD/ISSR markers and found genetic stability in micro-propagated plants from one year old cultures.
Growth & yield studies on forest plantations of teak in Karnataka
Total and merchantable (variable top-diameter & variable bole-length) volume equations have been developed for teak plantations in Karnataka. Few other models, available in literature for estimating teak volume, were tested but they generally underestimated the volume at dbh > 23 cm. The volume equations developed are more accurate on larger trees (dbh > 15 cm, total height > 12 m) than the smaller trees, and in the plantations having density < 1000 trees ha-1 than in more dense stands, however, the estimated errors for volume in case of smaller trees and plantations of high densities were also within the acceptable limit. General geometric cylinder volume equations combined with a stem form factor of 0.40 were less precise (underestimated volume by 17%) than the models developed and hence a form factor of at least 0.45 should be used for volume estimation using cylinder volume equation.Heartwood, sapwood and bark content were also estimated in teak plantations. Heartwood volume increases with increasing dbh in teak plantations in Karnataka. Also, bark content decreases with increasing age and dbh but increases with stand density.
Field demonstration trial of bamboo
IWST has established trials on bamboo species (Bambusabalcooa, B. bambos, B. nutans, Dendrocalamus asper, D. brandisii, D. stocksii, D. strictusand Guaduaangustifolia ) plantation in tropical humid zones in Chickmaglur and Coorg district and in Hoskote. Multilocational introduction cum demonstration trials for field evaluation of six important bamboo species viz. Bambusabalcooa, B. nutans, Dendrocalamus asper, D. hamiltonii, Guaduaangustifoliaand D. stocksii in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Goa. Established 20 ha introduction trial in Andhra Pradesh (Chintalapudi 10ha and Buggapadu 10 ha) and 5 ha trial in Agalote range of North Goa Division.
Traditional Ficus based agroforestry and ecological studies revealed that nutrient from Ficus litter can meet up to 70% N, 20% P, 67% K annual requirement of dry land crops grown under ficus. In addition, socio-economic analysis revealed that total land area, percentage of irrigated area, income from line stock & family labour are the crucial variables which determine adoption of ficus model in Mandya. The growth, wood quality parameters and productivity estimate of 12 years old farm teak under three management condition viz; unmanaged, block plantation revealed that the overall performance of farm teak in terms of different physical and mechanical properties were better in unmanaged line plantation on farm boundary.
Established agroforestry trials of sandalwood in three locations in Karnataka in farmers field with Mango, Amla and coffee has secondary host. At the age of seven years few trees started heart wood induction.
Ph.D. Programme and Project work
Institute of Wood Science & Technology admits students for Ph.D. degree who will be registered with Forest Research Institute University, Dehra Dun. A total of 83 candidates registered at IWST have been awarded Ph.D. under FRI Deemed University since 2000 under the Research Disciplines under clause 3.3 of the Ph.D. Ordinance of Forest Research Institute University, Dehra Dun. During the period of 2011-2016, 32 candidates have been awarded Ph.D. Degree.
Institute is also supporting graduate and postgraduate students of various Universities/Institutions/Colleges for their dissertation work. Scientists of the Institute are being invited by various universities/Institutes to deliver guest lectures and also to act as external examiners.
Monitoring and Evaluation:
The Institute has been involved in developing Reclamation and rehabilitation programme of iron ore mines in Karnataka. The Institute provides its services to Karnataka Forest Department regarding the assessment and evaluation of trials of different trees species. The Institute was part of the programmme on reassessment of forest types of India.
The extension cell of the institute reaches out to the stake holders through various activities such as Demonstration programme, Van Vigyan Kendras, Kisan Melas, Conferences, Seminars, Workshops, trainings and through publications.
For more information visit: http://iwst.icfre.gov.in/