Forest Pathology Division: 

        The Forest Pathology Division is carrying out research on diseases of tree species (seed, nursery, plantation, trees grown under natural conditions, timber & wood products, and medicinal plants) and mycorrhiza since the inception of TFRI in 1988. Prior to those, studies were also conducted in the erstwhile Regional Forest Research Centre in close formity of this institute. A comprehensive record of disease occurring in central India has been prepared and documented (Root diseases in Forest nurseries of MP and their control, 1993 - Handbook of diseases in Tropical Tree Species, 1997). During Forest Disease Survey 246 diseases on 118 host plant species were recorded. A detailed account of fungi occurring in central India has been prepared and documented in a form book (Forest Fungi of Central India, 2008). In this book 17 lower fungi, 187 ascomycetes, 65 basidiomycetes were described and systematically arranged following the recent classification from states of MP and Chhattisgarh.

With the increasing demand for wood, production forestry has gained importance in recent years. While more area may not be available for further planting programme in the states. Need for increasing the productivity of the existing plantations by intensive management it being felt. Availability of healthy stock of seedling for planting and their disease free condition subsequently in the field are important aspect of the management, and if this is over looked, it may affect the yield considerably. To meet this requirement the first step is to minimize the disease hazard by proper nursery or cultural practices and secondly, if diseases do occur to control them by means of chemicals. The later i.e. the control of disease depends on recognition of the causal organism of diseases through symptoms. The incidence of a disease need to be monitored for certain period of time to understand its level of severity, so that the chemical control can be justified economically. These facts establish a factual basis for methods of controlling a particular disease. If such basic information is not available attempts to control specific diseases will not be successful. In this way it becomes necessary to have a detailed knowledge of various diseases affecting different forest plantation species grown in the state.

High rainfall combined with tropical warm humid climate provides a condusive environment for the development and spread of several diseases especially when the host is also susceptible. Indegenous species raised in monoculture plantation are seldom affected seriously with indigenous pathogen. However, if they do, they suffer severely. The major host species selected for study of diseases are Tectona grandis, Gmelina arborea, Azadirachta indica, Boswellia serrata, Dalbergia sissoo, Shorea robusta, Casuarina equisetifolia, Emblica officinalis, Rauvolfia serpentina, Chlorophytum borivillianum, Eucalyptus, Albizias, Acacias and Bamboos etc. The diseases are highly damaging in seeds, nursery seedlings and plantations compared to natural forest. Looking to the environmental safety and high cost of fungicide biocontrol techniques as well as integrated management of some important diseases are being perfected for field users. The research inquiries received from forest departments and NGOs etc. are also being attended. The coordination and integrated approach with researchers with the forest department is utmost important in minimizing the losses in the field interdisciplinary research on disease management for enhancing the forest productivity.

Laboratory

 

Ongoing Projects:  

Major Achievements:  

Diseases

 

         Seed borne diseases of Teak, Gmelina, Karanj, Albizias, Acacias, bamboos and Stricnos potatrum studied and control measures        

           worked     out.

 

During forest disease survey 246 diseases on 118 plant host species were recorded from state of M.P., Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. 16 foliage diseases like leaf spots, leaf rust and powdery mildews were recorded in nurseries of Tectona grandis, Gmelina arborea, Azadirachta indica, Albizia procera and Pongamia pinnata.  Control measures of foliage diseases were achieved with the help of foliar spray of Bavistin 0.1 % and Dithane M-45 0.1 % at fortnightly intervals. Five root rots, charcoal root rot of Eucalyptus tereticornis, Pinus caribaea, Casuarina equisetifolia, Acacia auriculiformis.  Fusarium root rot of Gmelina arborea, Bamboo and Tectona grandis.  

 

Fusarium wilts of Gmelina arborea and Dalbergia sissoo have been recorded in nursery. Combination of Trichoderma sp. phosphate solubilizing bacteria and AM fungi has been tried as soil drench and as a seed treatment for control of the disease.

 

Biological control of post emergence damping-off of A. lebbek, A. procera and D. sissoo caused by Fusarium oxysporum. Disease was successfully managed by application of Actinomycetes in the pot experiment.

 

Ganoderma root rot of Dalbergia sissoo and Albizia procera recorded and integrated management recommended. Polyporus shoreae root rot of Shorea robusta have successfully controlled by adopting integrated approach of forest disease management. 

 

Three blight diseases, leaf blight of Pongamia pinnata (in M.P.) twig blight in Azadirachta indica (M.P.) and Sheath blight of Bambusa nutans (Orissa) Dendrocalamus asper from Jabalpur were controlled by application of Bavistin 0.1 % and Dithane M-45 0.2 % concentration.

 

Disease of hi-tech plantation of teak Gmelina and bamboo studied in detail. It is caused by Fusarium oxysporum. The control measures through application of bavistin/ coppersulphate + lime (2 kg Cu SO4) 5H2O + 2 kg Lime in 100 l of water recommended for controlling the infection.

 

Decline of sandal by heart-rot incidence caused by Phellinus caryophylli in Seoni (MP) was recorded. Protection of sandal areas from fire, grazing and inducing natural regenerations through plantations of suitable host was recommended.

 

Biological control of Fusarium root rot, in different tree species has been recommended. A new actinomycete was isolated, identified and research work was carried to standardize its use in control of root diseases/wilt problems. 

 

328 forest fungi of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were documented. 34 New species of fungi reported from central India.

 

An identification service of forest fungi is started to provide researchers and field workers.

 

Soil solarization technique is standardized to solarized forest nursery beds to eliminate soil borne root pathogens and weeds.

 

 Biofertilizers

        

Natural occurrence of AM fungi in clones of teak were studied.  The culture of VAM fungi were isolated from teak, bamboos A. procera and Casuarina purified and maintained in pots. 

 

Different strains of Rhizobium from A. procera and other legumes developed. Bulk cultures are developed by using lab fermenter. 

 

Associated N2 fixers like Azospirillum, Azotobacter, P solubilizing bacteria identified from Teak and bamboo and standardized the techniques for field application.

 

Lignite, soilrite and broth culture of Rhizobium, Azotobacter and Azospirillum were prepared. 

 

Mix AM cultures for use in field application during planting and nursery development of teak and bamboo are being maintained in glass house and bacteria cultures are maintained in laboratory.

 

Mass multiplication of AM is done in glass house while bacterial cultures are multiplied through lab fermenter.

 

Four different types of inocula were tried for bamboo, the soil based inoculum containing spores and chopped roots was found suitable.

 

AM fungi when inoculated with Rhizobium enhanced root colonization in Dalbergia sissoo and Pongamia pinnata seedlings.

 

Beneficial effect of biofertilizers and its economics worked out in production of teak stumps. Application of AM + Azo produced 57% more stumps per bed with 11% increase in collar diameter in a commercial teak nursery.

 

Technology of production of biofertilizers extended to forest department, Conservator of Forests (Research & Extension) Rewa Circle now producing biofertilizers for field use.

 

Mushroom cultivation

     

Cultivation techniques of three edible mushrooms, (i) Agaricus bisporus (ii) Pleurotus sajar-caju and (iii) Volvariella volvacea.

Significant achievements:

 

328 forest fungi occurring in forests of central India belong to 176 genera were documented in detail. A book entitled 'FOREST FUNGI OF CENTRAL INDIA' is published covering all details of fungi till 2011 including 2 new genera and 34 new species to science.

 

Wilt disease of aonla caused by Fusarium solani of neem caused by Verticilium nigrescenst, of khamer caused by Rhizoctonic solani were studied in detail and its control measures were suggested.

 

A new damping off disease of medicinal plant, Withania somnifera caused by Sclerotiu, rolfsii and a new blotch disease of Gloriosa superb caused by Curvularia pallescens were reported.

 

Soil Solarization technique is introduced in nursery beds to eliminate soil borne plant pathogens and weeds.

 

Beneficial effect of Biofertilizers and its economics were worked out in production of teak stumps.

 

Fungi causing decay in wood depots have been studied and their control measures are developed.

 

An identification service of forest fungi is started to provide researchers and field workers.

 

Technical services for management of diseases of forests are being provided to State Forest Departments, NGOs, Farmers, etc.

 

       Two demonstration plots to demonstrate application of Biofertilizers (AM fungi and Azospirillum) were established at Moiyanala demo village.

 

For further details, please contact:

Dr. R. K. Verma, Scientist "F" 

Head, Forest Pathology Division

Phone: +91-761-2840746(O)

E-mail: vermaramk@icfre.org

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