- 1. Primary Data Sets on Ecological Process, Biological Resources and Forest Utilization
KFRI has carried out inventory and systematic documentation of biodiversity in a variety of forest types in the Western Ghats especially of the flora and fauna of the protected areas. Special inventory of groups such as bamboo, rattan, palm, orchid, lichen, vascular plants, small mammals, wetland birds, fresh-water fishes and micro-organisms has thrown up several new additions to the biology/sciences. A apart from these large amounts of primary data is generated from research in plant breeding, propagation, silviculture, pathology, pest control, and other regular monitoring programmes at the Institute. The database on following aspects is available in the institute:
- Floral and faunal wealth of the tropical forests of the Western Ghats (esp. Vascular and non vascular flora, pathogenic and benign mycological species, faunal communities in the humid and dry tropical forests etc.)
- Population density estimations from periodic wildlife census in the natural forests of Kerala
- Weather patterns in the selected localities
- Forest dynamics from monitoring of permanent and semi permanent plots
- Response of various tree species to in situ and ex situ silvicultural treatments
- Wood balance studies and wood utilisation
- Quality and properties of wood of various tree species
- Forest invasives, pests and pathogens and their control
- Forest dependent communities and livelihood improvement of bamboo-dependent and marginalised communities in the context of participatory forest management
- Improving the productivity of manmade forests, the water use efficiency of different tree crops
- 2. Repositories of reference and educational value
Some of the repositories at the Institute are internationally acclaimed collections these include:
- KFRI Herbarium- is internationally recognised with acronym ‘KFRI’ and has a collection of over 15000 specimens of about1900 species belonging to 900 genera and 195 families
- KFRI Library-functions as a full-fledged resource centre on tropical forestry and as a special repository of literature on teak, bamboo and rattan. The library has over 15000 books, subscription to 90 international and national journals and electronic bibliographic databases. It also functions as national level Bamboo Information Centre
- Xylarium-has wood specimens of 500 indigenous and exotic species of trees
- Soil Museum-has a collection of about 20 soil monoliths depicting soil profile from Kerala
- Institue has a Wildlife museum and an Insect collection
- Teak museum-is an exclusive museum displaying the teak its habitat, history, cultivation, management, socio-economic aspects and uses
- KFRI has a unique nature education scheme involving a Bio-resources nature park and nature trails at its subcentre
- 3. Germplasm collections, nursery and seed centre
KFRI maintains live collections of following taxonomic groups and separate establishments for forest seeds and seedlings
- Bambusetum - has over 70 species of bamboos from all over India
- Palmetum- a collection of over 70 species of indigenous and exotic palms
- Canetum-over 35 species of rattans
- Medicinal plant garden- has more than 400 medicinal herbs, shrubs, trees and climbers
- Fernery and Orchidarium
- Arboretum and Botanical garden
- Butterfly garden-KFRI maintains two butterfly gardens
- Forest seed centre and testing facility-is a facility for collection, cleaning, grading, testing and storing of seeds established with aid of Kerala Forest Department
- Forest nursery- KFRI has three nurseries which are well equipped for seedling production of over 80 species of plants of which majority are indigenous tree species. These nurseries are useful demonstration sites for training programmes in tropical silviculture.
- 4. Technology development
KFRI actively contributed to the forestry science by standardisation of propagation techniques, evolving bio-control of pests and pathogens, productivity improvement, plantation technology etc. as below:
- Developed and standardised vegetative and micropropagation techniques for superior selections in teak, eucalypts, bamboo and various medicinal plants. KFRI was the first to standardise a methodology for clonal propagation of teak.
- Developed Biological control mechanism for controlling Teak Defoliator using HpNPV and mass production of the virus
- DNA mapping and genetic improvement of teak and developing clonal technology for production of improved planting stock of teak
- Productivity improvement of Eucalypt plantations through clonal technology, disease resistant provenances and sylvicultural practices.
- Standardised fertiliser dosages for teak and eucalypt plantations and assessment and augmentation of micronutrient deficiencies
- Preservative/curing treatments for rubber wood bamboos and canes for improved quality value addition and durability
- Root-trainer technology, compost media and micro and macro propagation techniques for bamboos, canes, selected medicinal plants and forest trees
- Developed plantation technology for more than 15 indigenous tree species, bamboos and rattans
- 5. Laboratories and Central Instrumentation Facility
Institute has specialised and well equipped laboratories for research in various tropical forestry sciences including, soil science, biotechnology, forest genetics and tree breeding, forest ecology, GIS, wildlife biology, phyto-chemistry, physiology, forest pathology, entomology, silvicultre and forest botany. A central instrumentation division coordinates the use and maintenance of the sophisticated instruments commonly used by these laboratories which include: GCMS, AAS, CHNS analyser, Auto analyser, Carbon dioxide flux analyser, GC, FTIR spectro-photometer etc.
- 6. Publications, compilations, online resources and networks
Institute scientists have published over 500 research reports, 1,400 research papers, several books, monographs, handbooks, software for tree volume calculations, workshop and seminar proceedings, field guides, bibliographic compilations and digital database in specialised areas such as pests and diseases, teak, bamboo and rattan, identification keys in print form as well as in the form of interactive multimedia CD
- Teaknet is an international network for Promoting interactions and to share information among the stakeholders of teak wood sector. Teaknet is aided by FAO and its secretariat is located at KFRI. It maintains an online teak resources and news web site and directory (http://www.teaknet.org)
- Asia-Pacific Forest Invasive Species Network (APFISN) secretariat is located at KFRI. The network focuses on technical and organizational issues to address the prevention, detection, eradication, and control of forest invasive species in the region (http://apfisn.net)
- Tree health helpline- is an innovative outreach and solution providing mechanism by tapping the accumulated expertise in the field of soil science, entomology, pathology, Botany, silviculture, wood science, statistics and physiology. Problems faced at single tree level to those at nurseries and plantations are attended through the helpline
- KFSTAT-is a comprehensive statistical database on the Forests of Kerala prepared by the FMIS
- FIMS has developed software for forest mensuration and prediction of plantation productivity
- The institute is the nodal centre for Bamboo Technical Support Group (BTSG) of the National Bamboo Mission (NBM) and it publishes the international Journal of Bamboo and Rattan
- Teaknet Bulletin-the biannual news letter of TEAKNET brought out by the team at KFRI
- Evergreen- the half-yearly newsletter of KFRI
- KFRI report series-has more than 400 reports brought in print and in digital form as a searchable CD-ROM
- As part of research programmes, special mapping programmes and land system analysis Forest Information Management System at KFRI generate and accumulate large amount of geocoded information on the forests and wetlands in Kerala
- 7. Research projects and academic programmes
KFRI has hitherto completed about 600 scientific enquiries pertaining to various aspects of ecology and management of tropical natural and planted forests. Funding and technical collaboration was received from national and international agencies such as Kerala Forest Department, MoEF, DST, DBT, CSIR, National Bamboo Mission, FAO, Ford Foundation, Natural Resources Institute (UK), ACIAR, Aus-AID, IDRC (Canada), ITTO, CSIRO, IDPAD, CIFOR, UNEP, INBAR (China), Mc Arthur Foundation, FORSPA, IPGRI, DFID, Winrock International, UNESCO, British Council, National National Biodiversity Authority etc.
KFRI is an approved centre for research for award of Doctoral Degree in disciplines of forestry, wildlife, social sciences and allied fields for the University of Calicut, Cochin University Science and Technology and FRI-Deemed University. Seventy five doctoral degrees have been awarded and another 40 are in progress.
- 8. Extension / outreach and policy Impacts
In culmination of more than three decades of dedicated research the collective wisdom at the institute could inform state policies and translate some of these to excellent extension and training programmes. Institute has a full fledged training and extension facility for imparting training in tropical forestry. Specialised and tailor-made training courses in tropical forestry are offered here. Extension wing serves as a facilitator for transfer of technology to the stakeholders. Problems and queries posed by forest department, industries and farmers are resolved in the light of expert advice from KFRI-scientific staff. Advices on control of pests and diseases of forest trees, soil and nutrient management, species-site matching, identification of specimens of plant, animals wood etc. are facilitated by the extension wing. part from these the extension wing also actively involve in spreading the message of nature conservation. As part of the action research programmes institute faculties were engaged in activities such as reclamation of degraded lands and forest watersheds, developing bio-shields in coastal areas, establishment of shelter belts in industrial areas, setting up of demonstration plot for multi-tier forestry.
- 9. Infrastructure
KFRI has modest facilities for hosting meetings and conferences in the main campus which include an executive guest house, international trainee’s hostel, auditorium and conference rooms and extension and training centre. A forest seed centre and testing facility and a central nursery are also functioning in the main campus. Institute has a very modest fleet of vehicles for facilitating staff transportation and field visits.