Silvicultural characteristics of principal species are:
Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo)
Shisham is a strong light demander. Its natural reproduction from seed suffers heavy casualties in places where weed growth is thick. It reproduces itself freely from root suckers and coppice shoots. The coppicing power is retained to a fairly advanced age. Trees even 60 years old have been coppicing quite profusely.
Being economically valuable and silviculturally easy to raise, shisham was the main species originally used for stocking all new areas. The first shisham crop was raised entirely by sowing of seed. Thereafter, coppice shoots and root suckers were largely relied upon for subsequent regeneration. Artificial restocking with root-shoot cuttings was started to supplement natural reproduction but now the technique has become a popular method for propagation of shisham of seedling origin.
Ecologically, shisham is a tree of the riverain tract where moisture conditions are generally favorable. Under old conditions it can withstand drought to a considerable extent but long spells of aridity result in the retardation of growth before complete death of the tree. It is a strong light demander and to a large extent frost hardy although its growing tips are affected by severe frost. The recent soil survey has revealed that it can tolerate pH as high as 8.6 but its growth is effected adversely. Optimum water requirement studies carried out at Pirawala indicated that it requires a delta of 4.5 feet (1.35 meters) for maximum volume production.
Due to its lower rate of growth in early youth, shisham is suppressed by fast growing coppice and weeds as a result of which a loss in vigour occurs. Weeding and cleaning operations to save it from suffocation and to help it against weeds of rapid growth rate is of immense importance.
Its uses are fodder, furniture,fuel,charcoal,medicinal(roots and bark),railway carriages,sporting goods,farm implemetns,and shade.
Mulberry (Morus alba)
Mulberry is a short-lived but rapidly growing tree which soon becomes hollow. It has a massive root system spreading out to a radious of 20 feet (6.0m) and a depth of 5 feet (1.5m) below the ground. It is essentially a surface feeder.
Mulberry begins to get fertile seed at a fairly early age. Coppice shoots 4-5 years old produce copious of well-formed fruit which repined in May June. It is widely dispersed by irrigation water wind and birds of which “tilliar” (Pastor roseus) is the most important. During their short stay in the plantations, they roost on isolated shisham standards in regeneration areas and disseminate the seed with their droppings.
Mulberry propagates readily from seed and vegetatively from cuttings and coppice shoots. Its seedlings can be transplanted with success but stump planting is the best for artificial restocking. Coppicing power of shoots is so great that clear-felling is the system suited to it. Under local conditions seedling crop of mulberry requires light cover of over wood for proper development. It is generally introduced after first thinning in the shisham crop.
Because of vigorous transpiration characteristics, water requirements of mulberry are higher than shisham. Experience in Chang Manga Plantation has shown that it cannot thrive with less than 4 feet (1.2m) delta in kharif season out of which 2.5 feet (0.75m) should be delivered by the end of June.Since it is very sensitive to irregularities in the supply of irrigation water, it should be confined to areas where the command is better. Its wood is used in the manufacture of sports goods, twigs for baskets making and leaves are used for rearing of silk worm.
Kikar (Acacia nilotica)
It is locally known as kikar or babul and belongs to the family legumina cease. It is a strong light demander and grows well in open over alluvial soil, receiving rainfall between 70 and 120 cm.
Its leaf-fall occurs for a short period in April-May but leaf renewal is almost simultaneous during mid-April to the end of May. Flowering generally takes place twice, once during June-July and second from November to December.
Babul develops a long tap-root system and spiny foliage under arid conditions. It is extremely sensitive to frost and fire but is a stout drought resistant. The browsing by goats and camels results into excessive injury whereas Celosterna and Psilotera beetles cause heavy damage, even in the mature stage.
Natural regeneration of the species begins early in the rainy season and continues till the end of the monsoon. It is favoured by complete sunlight,abundance of moisture in the soil and air,the absence of grasses and weeds,worked soil,artificial regeneration is done by direct seed sowing which may be broadcasted or dibbled before receipt of irrigation water. It is also done by seedlings raised in the nursery and transplanted at the prepared sites. The sowing method is not only cheaper but gives better results as well. The seed is collected from ripe pods. At different stages of formation of the kikar crop, it can yield pit props for mines industry and timber for other purposes. Other uses are fooder,fuel,and charcoal,agricultural implements,apiculture,gum, lac production,tannin,fencing,land stabilization,nitogen fixing and medicinal (bark for diarrhoea and dysentery) .
Phulai (Acacia modesta)
A moderate sized thorny tree which is largely used for fuel. It is useful for Afforestation of poor soils and dry lands. In the plantations, however, it is used largely as a hedge plant for the outer boundary. The hedge is raised by sowing of seed on berms of boundary passels. It is drought resistant, frost hardy and coppices well. It is very slow growing and the labour does not readily taken to its cutting on account of its thorns.
Sufaida (Eucalyptus species)
Eucalyptus with its remarkable adaptability to various climates, edaphic conditions, ease of growing and a fast rate of growth has rendered it a multipurpose rather a versatile species for planting. It has the capability of growing well in the sandy soil of poor moisture retention capacity and surviving in the severely saline soil of pH value reaching 11. Recent experiments have proved that a few species of eucalyptus including Eucalyptus camaldulensis can in general withstand fairly the ecological conditions of Punjab. The studies carried out at Pakistan Forest Institute, Peshawar have indicated usefulness of Eucalyptus camaldulensis for the manufacture of newsprint as well.
Due to its high coppicing power the silvicultural system applied for regeneration is simple coppice. The first rotation crop is usually obtained by transplanting of one year old healthy plants of 2 to 3 feet height.
Management of eucalyptus on 7-10 years rotation would also provide pole crop and firewood. In fact, the calorific value of eucalyptus is even higher (about 21000 KJ) than many conventional firewood species like kikar and phulai (20393 KJ)
Mesquite (Prosopis juliflora and Prosopis glandulosa)
It is an exotic plant and was first introduced here during thirties to stock “rapper” and sandy soils to beat up failures in shisham area. It is a thorny, gregarious natured and strong light demanding hardy species, which by virtue of its drought resistant characteristic successfully covers dry blanks, high lying grounds and kallar stricken patches without difficulty.
It regenerates naturally from seeds, coppice and root suckers. Its tree variety assumes the form of a medium sized tree. However, it is not necessary that the off-spring may also be a tree. Generally it remains bushy. There are people who belive that it has a little commercial value and rather creates management problems. So they stress that the species be eradicated at the earliest, else it is likely become unmanageable.Another school of thought has emerged who hold a firm opinion that keeping in view the unsuccessful results of foresters efforts to eradicate the mesquite from the plantations, nearly half a century estrangement be given up and reconciled with the species to ensure its growth particularly in semi-arid and marginal lands where other more valuable species can not be grown up successfully. Mesquite grows fast, can tolerate heat and drought and a variety of soils, has high coppicing power, possesses nitrogen fixing ability, is excellent for firewood and superior charcoal. Its uses are fooder,fuel,nitrogen fixing,poles and construction,agriculture implement ,apiculture,furniture,and soil stabilization.
Frash (Tamarix aphylla /articulata)
Frash is a native of arid zone. It cannot tolerate over-head or side shade and is a frost hardy species. It does not grow well in “dab” area as it cannot withstand root competition. On account of its adaptability to relatively poor, saline soils and xerophytes requirements, frash has generally been cultivated from cuttings on high lying grounds, sandy and ‘kallar’ soils. The results in severely ‘kallar’ affected areas, probably due to bad aeration have not been encouraging. Its timbers is used in decorative furniture, toys etc. Its firewood is considered inferior.
Bakain (Melia azedarach)
It has been tried in both the main plantations of Depalpur and Arifwala in the past, but its remanents at present are rare. It is fast growing species and grows satisfactorily in well-drained alkali free soils having adequate water supply.
It tolerates shade in the early stages and is fairly drought and frost resistant in the irrigated plantations. It has a shallow root system but is fairly wind-firm.
It naturally reproduces by seed and root-suckers. Its artificial propagations is obtained through seed, root suckers and root-shoot cuttings. It yields useful timber which is considered immune to insect attacks but like mulberry, it is vulnerable to porcupine attack.Its uses are fodder,ornamental,timber,construction,agriculture implements ,boxes and packing crates,sports equipment ,veneer, and plywood, and medicinal ( flowers and leaves as poutics for the headaches,juice of leaves as an anthelmintic and diuretic).
Semal (Bombax cieba)
Semal is generally planted along mains, khals and passels. It is fast growing and strong light demanding species. It possesses a well developed root system and basal buttresses in old trees make them highly wind-firm, but this large voluminous tree specially in early age is frost tender and susceptible to porcupine attack.
It is cultivated in the irrigated plantations mainly through root-shoot cuttings obtained from nurseries. Its soil requirements are similar to those of shisham and mulberry. Due to multipurpose use of its soft timber it has acquired the status of a much demanded, valuable industrial tree.
Siris (Albizzia lebbek)
A large deciduous tree that has been used for Afforestation in the past but it could not succeed as a forest crop. At present, siris trees exist here and there in the plantation. It can grow in salt-ridden areas if water supply is adequate. Its heart wood is good for furniture, cane crushers and oil mills, but its firewood is not liked much.
Ber (Zizyphus mauritiana)
This thorny species due to its lesser water requirements had tried in the past in blank,dry and high areas but has failed to establish itself as a forest crop. Its scattered trees are met with in many compartments.Its uses are fuel,charcoal,agricultural implements and fruit.
Jand (Prosopis cineraria)
It is an indigenous trees of arid zone. It grows well on stable sites and is found scattered throughout the plantation. It generally regenerates from coppice, but can also be propagated from seed and suckers. Nursery grown saplings have given remarkable results. It produces excellent fuelwood, and rustic timber.