In a suggestion that could ease the worries of eucalyptus farmers and plywood industry in the country, Indian Plywood Industries Research Institute (IPIRTI) has said melia dubia trees (also called malabar neem or kaad bevu) should be grown instead of the water-guzzling eucalyptus tree.
Eucalyptus plantations have come under the scanner after the High Court recently directed the forest officials to consider the ban on the tree in Kolar and Chickballapur, where eucalyptus plantations are being blamed for the declining groundwater table.
“We found it to be conforming to the ecological standards, while offering more strength and girth suitable for the wood-panel industry,” said B.N. Mohanty, Director, IPIRTI, which is a research and development institution under the Ministry of Environment. He was speaking at the meeting of the South India Plywood Manufacturers’ Association (SIPMA) here on Wednesday. Wood-based panel manufacturers and government representatives discussed technological advances in the sector, and issues concerning it.
Needs less water
“Kaad bevu consumes less water compared to eucalyptus and can grow to a girth of 100 cm (or one metre) in less than eight years in well-irrigated areas. Its peeling qualities also help get the best veneers for the plywood industry,” said Mr. Mohanty.
He said discussions will be held with the Ministry and Central forest officials to take up large-scale plantation of Melia Dubia tree.