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The potential of reed bamboo (Ochlandra travancorica) for revegetating degrading lateritic soils: a case study in Kerala, India

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Considering the importance of reed bamboo (Ochlandra travancorica) in cottage and paper industries, along with its ecofriendly and fast growing nature, this study was conducted to evaluate the potential of this species for revegetating the degrading lateritic soils in Kerala, India. The heavy rainfall prevalent in the region removes the bases through leaching and causes the formation of lateritic soils rich in iron and aluminium. To find out the survival and growth of reed bamboo on degraded soil, both seedlings and rhizomes were planted in the degraded area at Palappilly in Chalakkudy Forest Division of the State and the observations on survival and growth performance were recorded. Results revealed that reed plants raised from rhizomes could establish themselves better in the degrading lateritic soils than the seedlings and if seedlings are preferred for planting on degrading lateritic soils, then they should be at least 15 months old with well-developed rhizomes. After the establishment phase the plants grew vigorously, irrespective of the nature of the planting material and they attained an average height of 226 cm height and produced 13 culms within three years. Reed bamboo (O. travancorica) can, thus, be recommended as a very suitable species for revegetating the degrading lateritic soils.


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