Local name in various parts of Sub-continent:
· Shawa in Pashto
· Dalbergia sissoo
General Considerations about Shisham:
· It belongs to leguminosae family; Sub-family Papilionoideae
· The genus Dalbergia is named after Swedish Botanist Nicholas Dalberg.
· It is native to the foothills of the Himalayas of India, Pakistan and Nepal. Also found in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Afghanistan.
· It is found growing along riverbanks below 900m elevation, but can range naturally up to 1500 m.
· Its natural latitude range limits north to south: 23ON to 30OS.
· The temperature in its native range averages 12 – 22 OC.
· Average rainfall is 500 – 2000 mm with a drought of 3 – 4 months.
· Soil ranges from pure sand and gravel to rich alluvium of river bands. It can also grow in Saline soil.
· In Pakistan, it was introduced in Changa Manga in 1866 to produce coal for the railways. Now plantations are present at Khanewal, Kundia, and Mianwali.
· It is a gregarious colonizer of landslides, hillsides, roadsides, new embankments, grasslands, and other places where mineral soil is exposed.
· It is a multipurpose, semi-fast growing tree; used in timber production, firewood, high-class furniture, cabinet making, marine grade plywood, suitable for construction work, and for medicines as well.
· Its leaves are useful as livestock fodder, and being Nitrogen fixing tree.
· It also helps in soil binding, controlling erosion hence increasing water yield, well! Not to mention the environmental benefits.
· It can be propagated from seeds, seedlings, stumps, and root-shoot cuttings.
· It is grown in private lands, community and forest land, used in a linear plantation like roadside, rail side, and canal side, and even in agriculture field as an agroforestry crop.
· The agricultural crops which can be grown in association with Shisham are maize, mustard, gram, peas, wheat, sugarcane, cotton, etc.
Characteristics of Shisham wood:
· Its heartwood is hard, heavy, strong durable, and elastic.
· It can be seasoned well and is decay resistant.
Diseases of Shisham:
· Leaf Blight
· Leaf Rust
· Powdery mildew
· Shisam dieback is very important in the Sub-continent especially in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
· In Pakistan, it was mainly reported in farmlands, during last quarters of 1998.
· The problem was taken by PFRI with the collaboration of NIAB (Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology) and AARI (Ayub Agricultural Research Institute) Faisalabad.
· The problem was also noted in NWFP on road and canal side plantations as well as on the farmlands. Therefore, research activities were taken in PFI as well.
· The damage is now endemic. It is spreading very fast and the trees are dying at all kind of localities.
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Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu (techurdu.net) Forestrypedia (forestrypedia.com), All Pak Notifications (allpaknotifications.com), Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.