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International Centre for Research and Training on Seabuckthorn - Miscellaneous (Page 12)

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International Centre for Research and Training on Seabuckthorn - Miscellaneous
mountainous areas. Among various indigenous, under-exploited plant resources of high mountainous
areas, seabuckthorn (Hippophae L.) seems one of the best solutions for reclaiming these bare fragile
mountains. Seabuckthorn (locally known as Chharma/suta/sarla) offers an opportunity for more
sustainable livelihoods as well as a unique option for the simultaneous management of several
problems. The rational use of seabuckthorn illustrates how low input costs and careful planning can
lead to substantial benefits from the scientific exploitation of inaccessible, marginal and fragile areas.
Seabuckthorn has been found widely distributed along high hills, riverbeds, valleys, and along dry
mountain slopes. Seabuckthorn is generally found in moist, gravely stream beds. It grows in the form
of gregarious dense patches along river beds extending for miles together and along dry mountain
slopes up to the snow line in an altitudinal range of 700 m to as high as 5,500 m and above
comprising about 75 per cent of total natural vegetation of the area. Plant height has been found
ranging from very dwarf plants (15-80 cm) at windy high altitudes (>3,750 m asl) to shrubs (2-8 m) and
even large trees (10-20 m) at lower altitude (1,500-3,600 m asl). Out of a total of four species and nine
sub-species reported so far, three species of seabuckthorn viz. Hippophae rhamnoides ssp.
turkestanica Rousi (80% of total population), Hippophae salicifolia D. Don and H. tibetana Schlecht
have been recorded from various localities of the high mountain regions of Himachal Pradesh.
Work on seabuckthorn in the Hindu-Kush-Himalayan region was initiated in Himachal Pradesh.
Research, training and awareness programmes are being conducted at the SBT research centre at
Tabo-Lahaul & Spiti and RHRS, Sharbo, Kinnaur (funded by ICIMOD) of University of Horticulture
Forestry, Nauni, Solan. The University has taken a lead by developing very simple and efficient
propagation and planting techniques in cold deserts. The SBT R & D Centre has a strong mandate to
harness the potentials of this wonder plant for soil and water conservation, land reclamation and
improvement of soil fertility, vegetative rehabilitation of cold desert area, its utility as a source of fuel
and fodder and development of food, drinks and medicines, as well as a new source of income to
local inhabitants. The research centre has already made some progress regarding documentation,
selection of simple planting material, suitable sites for future plantation, standardization of nursery and
plantation techniques, detailed survey of status and genetic diversity of seabuckthorn. Experimental
nursery and demonstration-cum-developmental models through seed, cutting and roots have been set
up at Tabo, Kinnaur and Lahual and all are performing well. With a view to the tremendous potential
and future prospects of seabuckthorn, various developmental programmes have been initiated by
Govt. Himachal Pradesh by collaborative efforts of the University, Forest Department and outsides
agencies. A Joint Task Force Committee and Seabuckthorn Working Group have been constituted for
planning and executing the strategies for massive afforestation of seabuckthorn in Himachal Pradesh.
Seabuckthorn has been included as a major component of the afforestation programme of University,
State Forest Department and NGOs. A massive seabuckthorn programme has been launched with an
idea of covering 200 ha of land under seabuckthorn in Lahual and Spiti in the first instance. Major
constraints observed in seabuckthorn propagation in cold deserts are poor soils, lack of available
moisture during active growing season, discontinuous distribution of natural resources, inadequate
planting stock, lack of incentives for R & D staff and insufficient existing natural resources for industrial
use.
Since seabuckthorn is an ecologically viable and ethnobotanically sustainable food crop of the
mountain, it can be developed as an agro-industrial crop as well as essential component for any
activity for sustainable development, vegetation rehabilitation, conservation and for creating more job
opportunities for the poor mountain people with limited options. All this necessitates a reorientation of
the present policies and strategies.

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