Divisions Wood Science and Technology

Wood Science and Technology

The mandate of the Wood Science and Technology Division is to develop appropriate technologies for the value-added commercial utilization of timber. On project line, the Division has developed appropriate technologies and maintain the research facilities for primary and secondary processing (prophylactic treatment, permanent preservative treatment, drying and mechanical processing) of traditional and non-conventional (rubber wood, coconut wood, bamboo/reeds and cane) of timbers. Anatomical key, data bank and Handbooks published on the properties and uses of Kerala Timbers and Lesser-known and Imported Timbers. Timber quality of fast-grown and home-garden teak has been assessed. Low lignin/high cellulose reed bamboos were identified in the wild population for propagating low lignin varieties of reeds for pulp and paper industry, a step to save money spend on bleaching and to less pollute the environment. The Division offers consultancy services for wood identification, testing and reporting of timber samples to the end-user community like wood based industries, public sector undertakings, Forest Department and Judiciary. The well managed Xylarium collections provide reference materials for researchers and timber enthusiasts to familiar with different timber varieties. Division has expertise for consultancy and outreach activities for improved, better and efficient utilization of all wood, bamboo, rattan and other related lingo-cellulosic materials. Effective scientific interventions are made in the traditional rural bamboo and cane industry sector for imparting technology for value addition and for livelihood improvement.

Noteworthy achievements include:
  • Developed optimized commercial scale preservative (pressure) treatment schedules for rubber wood, coconut wood, Eucalypts, mahogany, acacia, teak thinnings, bamboo and rattans (canes)
  • Innovative rural technology developed for oil curing technique and equipment for improved color and durability of canes desired in international market
  • Anatomical characterization of Indian rattans and identification key developed based on stem diameter and anatomy
  • Juvenile wood characterization of fast- grown teak
  • Timber quality teak outside forests (ToF)
  • Wood property variations of Indian teak provenances
  • Age and location effect on pulpwood quality of Eucalyptus tereticornis and E. grandis
  • Identification keys developed (both anatomical and chemical) to discriminate native sandal wood (Santalum album L.) with other exotic sandal species
  • Search for low lignin/high cellulose reed bamboos identified in the wild population as superior raw material for pulp/paper industry for economical and environmental reasons
  • Harvesting technology optimized for bamboos and a prototype of harvesting tool developed which will be useful to minimize the drudgery of harvesting.
  • Starch depletion during underwater storage of bamboos for increased durability
  • Developed appropriate clean technologies for cluster/CBO level operated commercial scale conversion of bamboo and wood wastes as well as coconut shell into charcoal and shell charcoal into activated carbon, a product of high demand and export potential
  • Developed design, fabricated, installed, conducted trial runs and commissioned a pollution-free pilot-scale continuous vertical carbonizing plant with an input capacity of 3 tons raw material per day yielding 1 tone charcoal and a fluidized bed reactor (FBR) activation plant for activating the charcoal so produced conforming to Indian Standards
  • FBR technology for activating the charcoal was upgraded to RFBR (rotary fluidized bed reactor) for improved product quality
  • An RFBR with an input capacity of 2 ton charcoal per day was designed, fabricated and installed.
  • Published a handbook on Kerala Timbers and another on Lesser-known timbers including imported timbers with colour illustrations for easy selection of choice of timbers
All the technologies developed in the Division are ready to use and many were transferred to the stake holders and wood based industries.

Ongoing Research Projects

  1. Developing appropriate technology and establishing a plant for activated carbon production from coconut shells for community based organizations
  2. Evaluation of Ochlandra germplasm mass propagation and field trials of elites
  3. Impact of climate change on growth dynamics of tropical tree species in the Western Ghat region as evidenced from dendroecological studies
  4. Evaluation of Octilanda germplasm,mass propagation and field trials of elites-phase 2
  5. Impact of Climate Change on Growth Dynamics of Tropical Tree Species in the Western Ghat Region as Evidenced from Dendroecological Studies
  6. BTSG - Strengthening of Bamboo Primary Processing Cen
  7. BTSG - Strengthening of Bamboo processing Centre (CFC)

Ongoing Extension Projects

  1. Bamboo innovations to enterprises: Maintaining and strengthening business model facilitating CFC activities
The Departments under this program division are
Contact: Dr. TK Dhamodaran
Kerala Forest Research Institute
Peechi 680653, Thrissur, Kerala, INDIA
Tel: +91-487-2690282
e-mail: woodscience@kfri.res.in