410 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w maps, tables
Casuarinas are evergreen shrubs and trees belonging to a genus of 17 species in the family Casuarinaceae, native to Australasia, the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean.
From the preface:
"Casuarinas are planted on a large scale in the country for various uses. The area under Casuarinas stands at approximately 5 lakh [= 500 000] hectares, mainly in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, West Bengal and Gujarat. It is naturally found in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and the introductions in mainland India have evolved into a landrace. Economically, this is an important species for coastal farmers and a raw material for the pulp and paper industries.
In India, Casuarina gained focus as a cash crop in the 1980s and it led to a surge in Casuarina research. The 1st National Seminar on Casuarinas was held by the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, in association with the Tamil Nadu Forest Department and the Tamil Nadu Forest Plantation Development Corporation (TAFCORN) at Neyveli in 1989. Thereafter, a lot of development has taken place in the domestication and utilization of Casuarinas. The breeding programme of Casuarina equisetifolia was prepared by Khongsak Pinyopusarerk of CSIRO, Australia, and the same was taken up since 1996 with assistance under FORTIP (UNDP/FAO Regional Project on Improved Productivity of Man-Made Forests through Application of Technological Advances in Tree Breeding and Propagation) and Planting Stock Improvement Programme (PSIP) of the World Bank funded Forestry Research Education and Extension Project (FREEP). A large number of seed production populations have been established, which are now yielding genetically improved seeds.
Casuarina junghuhniana was introduced into India in 1996 and this has attracted the attention of farmers in drier tracts of the country, due its adaptation to arid conditions. Advanced research in the fields of tissue culture, genetic transformation, gene isolation, etc., pests and diseases and symbiotic association with Frankia are also being studied. On the utilization side, though the major uses were for scaffolding and fuelwood in the past, they have reduced and the use of Casuarina as a pulpwood has gained importance in the last decade. Its recent use is in generation of energy through gasifiers, to gain carbon credits. This species provides subsistence for the socially and economically backward coastal communities, and is a preferred species for ecorestoration and environmental protection.
To make available comprehensive information on various research activities being undertaken on the species, the 2nd National Seminar on Casuarinas was held in March, 2011, at Coimbatore, in the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding. This was to consolidate the research up to date on Casuarina in the country, and also to provide a platform for researchers for exchange of information and ideas. It also aimed at forming the network required to implement the All-India Coordinated project on Casuarina, and to serve as a prelude to the 5th International Conference on Casuarina which is proposed to be held in India in 2013.
The response to the call for the Seminar was overwhelming. The State Forest departments of the coastal states, the wood based industries and other research organizations participated and the Proceedings of the seminar have been compiled in this publication, so that it can serve as a reference material for the Casuarina research going on in the country."
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