Sandal Wood

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Sandal WoodSantalum album : 

Sandal WoodSantalum album Takhat Singh Ranawat

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Santalum album is a small tropical tree of the Santalaceae family It has been utilised, cultivated and traded for many years, some cultures placing great significance on its fragrant and medicinal qualities of it’s heartwood Oil. It is exploited for Sandalwood Oil and also extensively used for fine woodworking. For these reasons, the population in the wild is vulnerable to extinction. It can live one Hundred years and harvest is viable after 40 years. Introduction

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Habit (tree, shrub or herb) – A small evergreen glabrous tree. Neither sporadic nor gregarious. Found in fairly large groups in its habitat. Maximum height – about 4-9 meters Maximum girth – about 8’ Trees upto about 2 tons weight have not been known

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Habitat – General distribution Indigenous to Peninsular India. Principal tracts are parts of Mysore and Coorg and certain bordering districts of Tamil Nadu. Occurs mainly in open jungle, hedge rows, bamboo clumps and round the edges of cultivated lands. Ideal Soil Flourishes best generally on red ferruginous loam of the underlying rock being often metamorphic, chiefly gneiss. Found also on rocky ground stony or gravelly soil. Grows best on moist fertile alluvium along banks of stream. Those grown on proper soils form more scented heartwood. Required good drainage and does not stand water logging. Avoids saline and calcareous soil and is not generally found on black cotton soil.

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Climate In general, the sandal tree flourishes in regions where the climate is cool with moderate rainfall, plentiful sunshine and long periods of dry weather. Rainfall in the chief sandal tracts varies between 60-160cm. Temperature: 12 - 38 0C, Altitudes: 600 to 1050 m, though it may go up to 1350 m and descend as low as 360m. Forest Type Southern Dry Mixed Deciduous Forests

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Parasitism The roots of sandalwood saplings attach themselves to the root of the host plant with the help of haustoria adaptation. It also thriving off on other sandal trees too. The host tree supply macronutrients phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium, and shade - especially during early phases of development. Sandalwood grows well with hosts such as Cajanus cajan Acacia, Albizzia, Bombusa, Cassia, Erythrina, Erythroxylon, Gossypium, Pongamia, Semecarpus, Strychnos, Tectona, Thespesia, Vitex and Zocypus.

Phenology : 

Phenology Flowering period – Ordinarily May – June Another variable flowering from February 15 to March Fruiting period – Variable ordinarily October – December another fruiting period in July and August. Leaf fall – True evergreen and there is no definite period of leaf fall. Foliage gets thinner in monsoons and also in very dry season. Leaf renewal – A flush of new leaves appears in May during the early showers and again after the monsoon in October. Light – In early stages –shade demander. In its middle and later life it is intolerant of overhead shade, but is found growing under comparatively light cover. Coppice – Young trees coppice well. Older trees are stated not to coppice at all except on ground along the banks of water courses. Root sucker – Freely produced when root are exposed or out through or where parent tree has been grubbed up. Drought – Capable of with standing moderate drought, but prolonged drought kills it. Fire – Extremely fire tender and may be killed out right or injured and rendered unsound.

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Spike disease Cause very serious loss year after year Kills the trees in all the stages. It is caused by a virus carried from tree to tree by perhaps some forest insects. Insects concerned is believed to be of the family –cossidae. Grazing and browsing Moderate grazing does not seem to heavy any adverse effect. But in dry season it is readily browsed by cattle and deer and rabbit particularly when grass is scares and this constitutes the real danger.

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Germination Morphology of the Fruit / Seed : Fruit a nut or drupe, black when ripe, seed globose Viability (i.e., seed fertility) is 25 to 40% upto one year – seeds of 28 months gave 6% success. Depulped seeds give better germination per cent. Sandal fruits are collected fresh from the trees in December First soaked in water and rubbed to remove the soft pulp and then dried. The seeds do not store well. Germination takes place 1 to 3 months after sowing.

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Natural operation Found mainly under bushes hedge-rows and scrub but not as a rule in the open as: Birds sit on such growth and drop the seeds Seedlings require protection from excessive heat of the sun and from browsing animals In the later stages, a host is indispensable and this is not available Natural regeneration is handicapped due to browsing ang grazing. Seed – dispersal is effected chiefly through birds. Even the areas where the species is newly introduced, it has managed to spread itself freely on its own. Natural regeneration is greatly encouraged by removing other weed growth including grasses under parent trees and ranking up the soil. The seeds cast by the parent trees find a suitable bed and germinate promptly.

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Artificial regeneration Earlier attempts of Artificial regeneration failed due to Incomplete realization of the parasitic nature of sandal Non-availability of shade in the early period, as the sowing having been done in the open Again wrong tending, removal of lateral shade, results in bark scorching Also Browsing and in attention rust heave accounted for a number of failures Conditions for Localities to be regenerated: Open blanks – Hosts to be established in advances, Shrubby jungle – Together with hosts

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Artificial regeneration may be brought about by: Direct sowings- make numerous hole ½” deep with pointed stock without disturbing the soil unnecessarily and put one seed in each Nursery Technique : The seed beds are either sunken or raised and covered with straw which is removed when the seedlings emerge. When seedlings attain 4 to 6 leaf stage, they are transplanted into polythene bags, along with seeds of a primary host tree Cajanus cajan. Seeds sown in December can give 30 cms tall seedings in 4 months. Stump planting upto 3 years – 2¼ to 3 years old Stump planting has shown as much as 99% success Planting pieces of roots Root suckers

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Tending Operations In earlier stages 1) Maintenance of good host plants and their tending 2) Provision for tree and natural expansion of the crown 3) Feeing of suppressed plants 4) Providing light lateral shade to avoid sun-scorth with free overhead light In the later stages 1) Tending of hosts and 2) Climber cutting

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