Botany Division of Forest Research Institute (FRI) Dehra Dun is one of the six disciplines established in 1906 in the erstwhile Imperial Forest Research Institute. The division is aimed at carrying out forestry research activities in the subject of forest botany under its three disciplines namely, Systematic Botany, Plant Physiology and Wood Anatomy. Target areas of research include the components of forest biodiversity and biotechnological significance, lesser known floristic diversity of environmentally sensitive areas, anatomy of woods of forestry and economic important species, vegetative multiplication and physiological knowledge and, its application and integration for the welfare of the society and strategic planning.
Herbarium, Xylarium, Carpological Museum, Botanical Garden, Bambusetum, Tissue Culture units, Rare and spectacular plants conservatories, Vegetative Multiplication Garden, Clonal Seed Orchards are repositories of the division for R & D, educational and extension activities. The disciplines of the division have developed techniques and technologies in macro to micro level propagation of forestry and economic important species, made breakthroughs in identification of bamboos with out recourse to reproductive materials, and discoveries of plant species new to science. With a view to make the output of the division web enabled and under e-governance digitization of repositories such as that of FRI Herbarium is in progress
The division is accredited for decades of imparting training and education in various aspects of systematic botany, biodiversity, floristic, tissue culture, quality stock improvement, wood technology, environment and management etc. to the PG level students of FRI University, officers trainees of forestry institutions and participants from organization of the country and outside.
Systematic Botany Discipline:
• Establishment of Bambusetum of FRI with enrichment of species diversity and innovative design and lay out . Bambusetum at Garhi Mandu in Delhi is under establishment.
• Development of Sir Brandis Walking Trail in the Shatabdi Van Vigyan Kendra, City Centre (FRI), Dehra Dun with interpretative displays on the tree diversity.
• 165 rare and endangered species of Uttarakahand was studied and an enumerative account was prepared.
• Digitization of the herbarium specimens of the FRI herbarium is in progress.
• Floristic studies in the pine and deodar forests were carried out to record the impact of green felling.
• Endangered species were introduced in different conservation areas. Awareness training programme were organized for school teachers , students and environmental personnel.
• Fifteen exploration-cum collection tours conducted. Five hundred plant specimens have been collected of which two hundred specimens authentically identified for deposit in FRI Herbarium. Ethno-botanical information on 50 species have also been collected.
• Biotic impact assessment on the specific species and sites under threat in the forest areas of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi was carried out.
• Tree diversity of Ta Prohom, World Heritage site in Cambodia was studied for tree-to-tree prescription for the restoration-cum-conservation of monumental trees with curious and spectacular forms with archaeological structure.
Plant Physiology Discipline:
Establishment of field germplasm bank (Dendrosetum) of Dendrocalamus strictus at Forest Research Institute Campus, Dehra Dun.
• Establishment of a Model Bamboo Nursery at Shatabadi Van Vigyan Kendra, Forest Research Institute, City Campus.
• Establishment of Hill Bambusetum at Khirsu and Pithuni Khal of Pauri Garhwal.
• Mass clonal propagation technology has been developed and demonstrated for Terminalia arjuna, T. bellirica and T. chebula.
• Collection of seeds and branch cuttings of different fuel wood and fodder tree species of Garhwal Himalayas.
• Growing quality planting material in nurseries for distribution to different users
• Propagation technology of fuel wood and fodder species
• Trainings were organized for villagers at three different nursery sites
• Distribution of quality planting material at three different nursery sites and field planting of quality planting material.
• Studies on phenotypic characteristics viz., height, girth at breast height, clear bole etc. taken for 30 different clones of Dalbergia sissoo in the repository of Clonal Seed Orchard at Lachhiwala
• Maintenance of three Vegetative Multiplication Gardens of different ages at Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun. Through hedging, fertilizer treatment, thalla formation for juvenile shoot production, suckering operations to encourage sucker formation.
• Seed Collection of Aegle marmelos, Emblica officinalis, Moringa oleifera, Terminalia bellerica and Terminalia chebula were completed. Seed sowing and germination studies of these species were also completed.
Wood Anatomy Discipline:
• Studies on wood structure of timber yielding species
• Microscopic anatomy of commercial timbers of India
• Resin yielding Studies on Gum and trees, Tension Wood ,Silica bodies
• Variation in the structure and its relation to growth conditions and studies on wood quality
• Studies on paper making raw materials
• Identification of bamboos and canes using anatomical structure.
• Systematic studies on families and closely allied genera and species.
• Development of Computer assisted expert systemon wood identification, and development of Xylarium.
Policies, priorities, strategies and problems
Forest Biodiversity oriented floristic surveys and systematic studies on Forest species. Inventorizing, monitoring and assessing rare, spectacular and threatened phyto-diversity. Clonal propagation for the genetic improvement of important forest species integrating recent trends.
• Screening of water stress tolerant species and clones of forestry important species.
• Wood anatomical studies for identification and evaluation for the quality of timber.
• Development of anatomical database of Indian timber yielding species.
• Tissue culture techniques and development of protocols for the quality planting stock of economically important species.
• Digitization of repository (Herbarium) for web enabling and e-governance
Tissue culture technology was developed for the protocols on Eucalyptus Hybrids (FRI-5, FRI-6, FRI-10, FRI-13, FRI-14 and FRI-15), edible bamboos (Dendrcalamus hamiltonni, Dendrocalamus asper, Melocana baccifera,) and introduced in different parts of Uttarakahand for further studies. Economically important multipurpose forest plants raised through the application of different integrated for the mass multiplication were y distributed to the stakeholders. Demonstration were made on different aspects of techniques and technologies involved in the development and improvement of forestry and economic important plant species
Future projection and programmes
• Projects on the application of recent trends on survey, monitoring, characterizing and evaluating, threat and conservation values on the Forest Phyto diversity and integration of traditional knowledge.
• Impact of climate change on the flora and interdependent components.
• Dendrochronological studies on the timber yielding forest trees for the assessment of climate change in specific sites.
• Biochemical characterization and proten profiling for physiological metabolic and gene expression of forestry important species.
• Digitization of archive collection of herbarium, xylarium, and live repositories of Forest Research Institute.
• Genetic diversity and water stress studies on multipurpose forest species.
• Creation of certified germplasm of important forest species and their planting stock improvement.
• Development of protocols through application of tissue culture techniques and integration of allied fields for mass multiplication of important species of economic value, rare and endangered plants and selected desirable lines/plus trees or clumps/hybrids etc. Assessment and evaluation of phenotypic and genotypic expressions of tissue culture based planted materials.
• Development of management plans and strategies on noxious forest invasive species in natural and production forest for implementation by the affected department and agencies.
• Development of novel micropopagation protocol of selected desirable line/plus trees or rare and endangered plant species.
• .Somaclonal studies variation through In vitro selection for biotic stress (disease resistance, abiotic stress, salinity, alkalinity, metallic toxicity, cold resistance) etc and In vitro production of economically important secondary metabolites.
• Development of management plans and strategies on noxious forest invasive species in natural and production forest for implementation by the affected departments and agencies