Title : Subabul (leucaena leucocephala) clonal forestry : A path forward for solution of fibre resource development to paper industries in India
India is one of the major producers / consumers of Paper and Pulp products (4% of global share). Approximately one fourth of its raw material has been wood based and from the years nineteen eighties onwards, there has been a paradigm policy shift to open competitive economy. Development challenges thus faced by the industry since then, includes development of robust raw material base, from agro –social forestry on private lands.
JK Paper Ltd has annual production capacity of about 6,00,000 TPA and having 3 integrated pulp and paper plants located at Songadh (Gujarat), Rayagada (Orissa) and Kagaznagar (Telangana) producing writing & printing paper and virgin packaging boards.
For sustainable raw material supply, JKPL is promoting social & farm forestry plantation programme in mill’s catchment area from the year 1996-97. JKPL has started its plantation program from 1996 and till 2020-21, 205009 Ha brought under green cover through farm forestry by distributing more than 63 crores plants in last 10 years.
Subabul (Leucaena leucocephala) is widespread species in world originated in Central America and Mexico. The leuceana was transferred to Asia from west Mexico in 16th and 17th centuries at the time of Galleon trade. Subabul spread in worldwide at South America, Asia, Southern USA, southern Europe, Australia, Africa and many oceanic islands with warm climates.
The major constraint faced by Subabul planting farmer is productivity per hectare which is 60-70 MT/hectare in 3 years cycle. That is the reason why large area is required for production of 80 Lac MT of wood in 4 major Subabul wood producing state and farmers remuneration is lower side.
To focus on the wood productivity in Leucaena, we have started tree improvement program in 2014-15 by inter specific hybridization, selection from diverse population and mutation through gamma radiation.
Selection of superior genome through phenotypic identification for its superiority over natural population will be called plus tree which was coppiced and produced clone in vivo & in vitro technology.
In order to have a broader genetic base and to improve yield per unit area, a systemic genetic approach in research and development of Leucaena is being undertaken. Selection of plus tree in Gujarat and Maharashtra States at different sites has been done. To date, about 3,500 plus trees have been selected. A further short list of the top 10 plus trees was selected for testing of pulping properties at our R&D laboratory. We have also collected coppice cuttings from these plus trees and have developed rooting methodologies in mist chambers. Progeny testing for these plus trees has been done. Results show that CPM 3, CPM 29 and CPM 32 have 125% growth compared with the control of existing Leucaena field clonal plantations. Vegetative multiplication in vivo is going on for commercial production of plant and this year 3 million clones will be planted in Gujarat and Maharashtra during 2021-22. During progeny trial research we have observed that this genetic superior plus tree is very fast growing and produce 85 CMT/hectare of wood in 18 months whereas normal productivity by seedling through seed is 60 -70 CMT per hectare in 3 years. This clone is game changer in farmers’ field for their economic viability as compared to their routine agriculture crops in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Farmers will get Rs. 2.8 Lacs gross income per hectare in 18 months (i.e. Rs. 1.87 lac /Ha/year) by planting this clone whereas seed origin plants generate Rs.77,000/Ha/year in the rotation of 3 years which is 143% higher than seed origin plantations and very much comparable even higher than 25% with the cotton and wheat remuneration i.e. Rs.1.50 Lacs/Ha/year.