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Shisham (Dalbergia sissoo) Die-Back

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Shisham Die-Back

            Local name in various parts of Sub-continent:
·       Sissoo
·       Sissu
·       Shisham
·       Tahli
·       Sihan
·       Shawa in Pashto
Botanical Name:
·       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
·       Dieback
Shisham Dieback:
·      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.
For Correction and Improvements please use the comments section below.

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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