KERALA AGRICULTURAL UNIVERSITY
College of Forestry, Vellanikkara
|Forestry education in Kerala Agricultural University was started in 1986 with the establishment of the College of Forestry in Vellanikkara, Presently, the College is under the Faculty of Agriculture and is headed by the Associate Dean.|
The College of Forestry is located about 10 km east of Thrissur along the side of the Trichur - Palghat National Highway (NG 47). The place lies between 13° 32'N latitude and 76° 26'E longitude with an elevation of about 40 m from MSL. The climate is warm humid with mean temperature varying from 30- 38° C . The mean annual precipitation is about 2670 mm. Diurnal variation in temperature is very less. The soil is predominantly red loam.
|Organisational Set Up|
The faculty of Forestry and later the College of Forestry under the Faculty of Agriculture was originally headed by a Special Officer. In July 1995 the position of the Special Officer was redesignated as Associate Dean.
For undertaking teaching and research activities, five statutory departments have been set up in 1993. They are:
B.Sc. (Forestry) Programme
The College offers a four-year degree programme in Forestry. The primary emphasis of this programme is to impart theoretical and practical knowledge in all the areas of forestry. The course is offered under the course-credit system over a period of eight semesters, the final semester being entirely set apart for off-campus training programmes. The number of seats available for the course is 15. Admsission is open to both boys and girls qualified in the entrance examination conducted by the Government of Kerala.
The under graduate curriculum contains in addition to class room hours, intensive off campus training programme for a period of six months. This includes three month stay in the forest ranges, exposure to various forest based industries and other organisations, physical training in the forest training centre etc. The students have to also undergo training in first aid from the Medical College and armed training from the Police Training Camp.
M.Sc. (Forestry) programme
M.Sc. (Forestry) is a two year programme (4 semesters) with opportunities of specialisation in three disciplines of forestry viz., Silviculture and Agroforestry, Tree Physiology and Breeding and Wildlife Science. The curriculum comprises of course work and independent research work leading to the submission of a thesis. The areas of research for the students include silviculture, seed technology, agroforestry, tree physiology, tree genetics, tree breeding, tree tissue culture, forest management, wood science, wildlife etc. The number of seats available for this course is 9 and admission is through the entrance test conducted by the University.
The College laboratories are reasonably well equipped. In addition to the UG and PG laboratories, separate laboratories for silviculture, tree tissue culture, tree propagation, wood science, agroforestry, tree physiology and wildlife are established. The instrument room, xylarium, entomology museum and students computer room are the additional facilties used for instructional and research purpose. Some of these facilties are being made use of by the students and staff of other Colleges as well. The College has some of the most modern laboratory instruments including leaf area meter (Licor, USA), plant water status console (Soil Moisture Equip. Corpn., USA), data logger (Licor, USA), radiation sensors (Licor, USA) sliding wood microtome (Leica, Germany), cryopreservation unit, laminar flow work stations, spectrophotometers, bomb calorimeter, precision balances etc.
A Forestry Museum also is maintained in the College depicting the major features and findings of the College.
The College of Forestry has established a good library having a rich collection of core books in subject matter areas of forestry for the frequent use of the students. Multiple copies of important books are available for the benefit of the students. Back volumes of some of the relevant research journals have also been procured to facilitate reference of literature by the students and staff.
In addition to regular teaching programmes, the faculty members are involved in research activities on various fields of forestry and allied areas. About 20 ha Instructional Farm has been established for instructional and research purposes. An Arboretum with a rich collection of more than 150 tree species, tree crop nursery, wood lot plating, blocks for rare and endangered species, collection of asexually propagated tree species etc. form the important components of the farm. All India Co-ordinated project on Agroforestry is functioning at LRS, Thiruvazhamkunnu and the experiments laid out there also serve the purpose of both instruction and research for both the students and the faculty. A very good germplasm of various agroforestry species including fodder species is being maintained there.
Over 100 research projects have been completed/ being carried out in the College by the students and faculty. In addition to the post graduate research programmes, the faculty members are carrying out individual projects funded by the University or outside agencies including USDA, ICAR, ICFRE, State Forestry Department, STEC etc. More than 200 research and popular articles in national and international journals and dailies in various subject matters of forestry have been published in the last over ten years.
As a part of the extension activities, seedlings of rosewood, mahogoni, mangium, venga, ungu etc. as well as stumps of teak are being produced every year and supplied to farmers through the Information-cum-Sales Centre, Mannuthy. Good quality planting materials of flowering trees like bauhinea, jacaranda, delonix cassia lagerstromea, spathodea etc. are also made available for avenue planting. These are also supplied to the various research institutes, farms and Colleges of the University.
The teachers of the College offer consultancy services to farmers in various area of forestry and agroforestry, especially establishment of nursery, tree planting, pest and disease management in nurseries etc. The faculty members also deliver guest lectures in College, Schools and Panchayats etc in various aspects of forest management. Informations on these lines are also being disseminated through Radio and TV talks and discussions by the teachers. Publication of popular articles on various aspects of forestry, especially in the vernacular also is being done by the faculty. A number of basic booklets on silviculture and management of commercial hard wood and soft wood tree species, flowering trees etc. are also published in Malayalam.
The students had taken up a nursery seedling production programme in collaboration with the Kerala State Forest Department in a buy back scheme. About 50,000 tree seedlings have been made by the students under the supervision of teachers. The students also started the "earn while you learn" programme of the University from 1993-94 onwards under which teak stumps are raised and sold to farmers and to the University Stations. It is being conducted as a profitable scheme for the students.
A unit of NSS is also functioning in the College under the supervision of a Staff Advisor. Under the auspices of the NSS unit, campus beautification and tree planting programmes are undertaken every year. In addition, blood donations, annual camps, wildlife survey, microplanning, tree evaluation etc. are also carried out under this programme.
A "Village Adoption" programme was initiated in the College from 1992-93 onwards. As part of this programme, seminars and workshops are conducted in the selected villages and tribal colonies in and around Vellanikkara. Planting materials are also distributed to the beneficieries after demonstrations of scientific management of the forest trees.
The college is maintaining an independent website under the auspices of its alumini. Visit forestry.kau.edu for details
|Salient Research Findings|
Dewinging Hopeo aparviflora seeds did not have significant effect on the germination parameters. Sand or need cake were not appropriate storage media. When seeds were treated with fungicide Emisan (1% a.i.) and stored at 10° C, 87% germination was obtained at the end of 40 days.
In a ten year old plantation of Tectona grandis, leaves taken from the bottom position of the crown during the time interval 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. were found to be the standard for nutrient analysis. Similarly, the second leaf rank from the trees belonging to the largest diameter class were ideal for sampling.
Standardised the pre-treatment of albizia seeds and found out the presence of an inhibitor in the seed coats of these seeds. The most effective and practical method of pre-treatment to obtain quicker and higher germination of Albizia was physical scarification followed by soaking in flowing water for 24 hours. Grubs of Bruchidius bilineatopygus Pic. Cause heavy damage to developing pods and seeds of albizia odoratissima, A. procera and Paraserianthes falcatoria.
In the case of Ceiba pentandra, seeds collected at later stages of harvest gave better germination than earlier ones. Seed size did not have any influence on germination. Soaking these seeds in boiling water and alowing to cool for 24 hours and acid scarification (treating with conc. Sulphuric acid for 10 minutes were the best pre-treatments to get better germination. Farmyard manure had the most dominant effect over seed size or fertilizers to produce good quality seedlings. Large sized seeds weighing more than 0.055 g. have to be sown in rooting medium containing soil, sand and FYM, in proportion of 1:1:1 to obtain better seedlings.
Out of the seven forest tree species raised in the nursery, Tectona grandis, Albizia falcataria, Swietenia macrophylla and Ailanthus triphysa suffered greater pest damage. Most damage was caused by leaf feeding and root feeding insects. Chemical control methods were effective in containing the pests.
Local extermination of species is aggravated due to human interference in the sacred groves which come under tropical evergreen forests.
Seeds of flowering trees like Lagerstroemia, Cassia, Bauhinia etc. when treated with IAA 100-200 ppm re3sulted more germination and vigour in the nursery.
Seeds of Terminalia and Tectona species retained longer viability of 8-10 months when stored under cold conditions compared to open storage.
Tip cuttings were the best planting materials for asexual propagation of Ficus and Cassia species. In Phyllanthus emblica air layering was found to be the best method.
For most of the tropical forest tree species, potting media consisting of soikl, sand, cowdung and vermiculite (2:2:2:1 ratio) was found better in terms of germination and seedling vigour.
In leaf litter decomposition studies, initial nitrogen and lignin were found to exert a profound influence on the rate of decomposition. Rate of decomposition was found to be a function of temperature, soil moisture and soil temperature. Nutrient release pattern followed a bi phasic model with an initial rapid phase followed by a slow later phase. Decomposition of potassium was faster compared to other elements.
Nutrient deficiency symptoms particularly of N, P and K in forestry tree seedlings were standardised.