Cloning revives Himachal willows

willow trees are drying up in the Lahaul valley of Himachal Pradesh. The Himalayan Forest Research Institute (hfri), Shimla, says that in the past decade more than 3,000 trees have died from aphid attacks, monoculture plantations, old planting stocks, decrease in water flow, wrong choice of planting sites, rise in temperature, melting of glaciers and decrease in snowfall.

The Himachal forest department requested hfri to do the study. It recommended the introduction of fresh and superior plant stocks and genetic improvement of these trees by cloning. New germplasm has thus been imported to replace the genetically degraded clones and to widen the genetic base.

A pilot project