Eucalyptus management; an Indian initiative

Gum trees, the universal name for the eucalypts, are an all too familiar sight in our South African landscape.  They are an incredibly successful plant family.  Between their several hundred species, they cover 6.5 million hectares of the earth’s surface, excluding their own home territory of Australia.

India encouraged wide-spread plantations in the 1970s.  These species were the mainstay of several internationally backed social forestry programmes and centrally sponsored forest conversion schemes. The aim was to provide a source of pulpwood for the rapidly developing Indian paper-pulp industry by improving the productivity of forests.

However, according to a recent report in the Deccan Herald, India has decided that enough is enough.  http://www.deccanherald.com/content/397946/tackling-demon-eucalyptus-last.html

The Madras High Court has ruled that the trees’ long-term ecological impact far outweighs any economic gains to the country and eucalypts must be removed.  Their impact on water supply is now becoming acute.  Each eucalyptus tree can cause a loss of between 20-40 litres of water per day.

The article stresses that while felling the trees is clearly an important part of the removal process, what needs to be highlighted is that merely cutting these exotics encourages resprouting.  The stumps that remain after a tree is cut need to be killed.

As the article states, measured and well planned action, based on scientific principles, could go a long way in ensuring the long-term success of this important ruling.   The case has the potential to be a benchmark for ways to deal with introduced species elsewhere in India.

And indeed for South Africa.

Summary by Deirdre Richards

 

EUKALIPTUS-BEDRYFSLEIDING: ‘N INDIESE INISIATIEF

Bloekombome, die universele naam vir die eukaliptus, is ‘n oorbekende verskynsel in ons Suid-Afrikaanse landskap. Hulle is ‘n ongeloofik suksesvolle plantfamilie. Tussen hulle verskeie honderde spesies, bedek hulle 6.5 miljoen hektaar van die wêreld se oppervlakte, uitsluitend hulle eie tuisgebied, Australië.
 
Indië het in die 1970s wyd uitgestrekte plantasies aangemoedig. Hierdie spesies was die steunpilaar van verskeie internasionaal gesteunde sosiale bosbouprogramme en sentraal geborgde bosbouomskakelingskemas. Die doel was om voorsiening te maak vir ‘n bron van papierhout vir die vinnig ontwikkelende Indiese papierpulpnywerheid deur die produktiwiteit van die woude te verbeter.
 
Hoewel, volgens ‘n onlangse verslag in die Deccan Herald het Indië besluit genoeg is genoeg.
 
Die Madras Hooggeregshof het bepaal dat die bome se langtermyn ekologiese impak enige ekonomiese voordeel vir die land ver oorskry, en hulle moet verwyder word. Hulle impak op watervoorsiening raak nou kritiek. Elke eukaliptusboom kan ‘n verlies van tussen 20-40 liters water per dag  veroorsaak.
 
 Die artikel beklemtoon dat, al is die neervel van die bome duidelik ‘n belangrike deel van die  verwyderingsproses, wat nodig is om beklemtoon  te  word, is dat slegs die neervel van die eksotiese bome nuwe uitloopsels aanmoedig. Die stomp wat agter bly nadat die boom gevel is, moet doodgemaak word.
 
Die  artiklel meld dat oorwoë en goed beplande aksie, gebaseer op wetenskaplike beginsels, baie kan doen om langtermyn sukses van hierdie belangrike reëling te verseker. Hierdie saak beskik oor die potensiaal om ‘n norm te wees vir maniere om op te tree teen ingevoerde spesies in ander dele van Indië.
 
 En inderdaad vir Suid-Afrika.
 
 Opsomming deur Deirdre Richards
Vertaling deur Andre van der Spuy

About roncorylus

He who wants the kernel must crack the nut
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One Response to Eucalyptus management; an Indian initiative

  1. patriciablignaut@gmail.com says:

    Eucalypts take far too much water. So must be removed where they are not indigenous. However they should be replaced with an indigenous tree. Otherwise topsoil when be lost on vacant land. So it must be done systematically.
    Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

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