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Malabar Manual Vol 2
William Logan
APPENDIX A.— Conolly Teak Plantation


By Mr. J. Ferguson, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Nilambur.

1. Collect seed from trees with a clear stem free from decay and of vigorous growth ; February, the best month to collect in.

2. Preparation of Nursery Beds.—-Select good free soil, dig 12 inches deep, removing weeds, roots and stones. When caked, the soil should be reduced to a fine mould, and the nursery levelled ; line off beds, 3½ feet wide and one foot space betwixt each bed and its fellow, then raise an outer edging round each bed, 3 to 4 inches high ; beds when thus finished will be about 2½ feet wide between the edgings, and 120 seers of seed will suffice for 150 feet in length of the above-sized beds ; sow from 10th to 15th April, before sowing steep the seed forty-eight hours in water, then sow and cover with a thin covering of fine soil, nearly ¾ inch, then cover with straw to retain the moisture ; betwixt the soil and straw a few very small twigs without leaves to prevent the straw from being washed into the soil by water ; which, if allowed, is apt to destroy the young seedlings on its (the straw's) removal.

Water daily copiously, say a common earthen pot of water to each two running feet in length of bed, less or more, according to free soil or otherwise. ln this way the seed will germinate in from 10 to 15 or 20 days or more according to freeness of soil, waterless as the plant strengthens, but keeping up sufficient moisture till the monsoon sets in from the 1st to the 3rd week in June, when the plants will be from 4 to 8 inches high and ready for planting out permanently.

3. The site for planting should be selected and felled in December, allowed to dry till March, fired, then cross cut, piled, and burned off, and after the soil is softened by the rains, line and mark off the pits the required distance apart ; from 6 to 7 feet answers well, the pits dug from 10 to 12 inches square, and equal depth and filled in as dug with earth slightly raised around tops.

4. Planting.—The seedling should be put well down in the pit, taking care the tap root is not twisted and turned up (to prevent which the tap root is shortened to 6 inches as lifted from the bed) ; . when planting the cooly inserts his hand the required depth perpendicularly, taking out the soil and putting the seedlings with the other hand (as above without twisting or turning up the root), putting back the removed soil and pressing it firmly round (without damaging) the plant, and this prevents its being wind waved before taking root.

5. Planting should take place after the soil is well saturated with rain ; from the 10th to 30th June and 8th July is the best season, as afterwards the seedling’s tap root rapidly swells like a carrot and does not throw out fibrous roots, nor establish itself either so quickly or so well as before that state of growth.

When the planting cannot be finished by the 8th of July, the small vigorous seedlings, which continue to germinate up till August and will even germinate after twelve and fourteen months in the beds, should be selected in preference to the larger and more robust with the carroty roots.

Note by the Officiating Inspector

I am informed by the Conservator of Forests, Southern Division, Bombay, that he has tried transplanting Teak Seedlings in the nursery before planting out, with the best results, and as this plan mitigates the difficulty to which Mr. Ferguson refers with regard to the long carroty-roots, it appears worthy of trial where circumstances admit. The Conservator of Forests, Southern Division, Bombay, has promised a memorandum on the subject which will be circulated on receipt.

OOTACAMUND, (Signed) C. WALKER, Capt.,

26th March 1874. Offg. Inspector of Forests



By Mr. J. Ferguson, Deputy Conservator of Forests, Nilambur.

Cost per acre of planting natural forest.

Cost per acre of subsequent Maintenance.


The above rates are for plantations formed from old natural forests, and should meet all charges on ordinary soil exclusive of superintendence.

If the soil is very fine, and has been previously cropped more than once, the coat of felling and burning will be reduced, but the cost of weeding will be increased for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd years, but as the plants begin to cover the ground the undergrowth decreases considerably. If the plantations are intended for first-class timber the thinning should begin from the 6th or 7th year.


The memorandum on the Conolly Teak Plantations at Nilambur, by Mr. Atholl MacGregor, the late Collector of Malabar, in 1874, does not seem to have included the operations carried out at Nellikutta, Amarapalam, etc., which lie at some distance from Nilambur itself. Of course, at the period, viz., 1874, when the memorandum was drawn up, about three-fourths of the existing acreage of plantations had been finished, and almost all of this acreage was confined to the Nilambur, Valluvasheri and Chatamborai blocks all situated close to Nilambur.

The account of expenditure and revenue of these selected areas only has been given in the memorandum, whilst that recorded below treats of the whole plantation.

The system worked out and the figures adopted in the report No. 104 of 20th April 1878, by Colonel Beddome in reference to G.O. No. 2846, dated 24th September 1877, differ greatly from those adopted in Mr. MacGregor’s memorandum, and they embrace the whole plantation.

Colonel Baddome's system has accordingly been adopted and the annual figures are recorded below up to date in the forms therein prescribed.

For the purpose of showing the valuation of plantations in the annual Code form No. 60, the total of column 7 in statement A above, viz., Rs. 2,14,786, has been adopted at the suggestion of the Conservator of Forests, as charges debited under A-VIII (d) in accordance with the Code para, 239. The amount, viz., Rs. 3,78,121 of the corresponding column 6 in statement B above, is the total revenue realised up to date from the thinnings, and this deducting the actual cost, viz., Rs. 2,14,786, shows a surplus revenue of Rs. 1,63,335 in favour of the plantations.

In the absence of any record of the revenue and expenditure under ‘‘Plantation proper” with 4 per cent compound interest up to date, it had to be worked out from the very beginning, and the following are the results obtained. In making the calculations to avoid tedious multiplication figures, fractions of 100 above 50 have been treated as 100, and fractions of 100 amounting to 50 or less have been omitted.

It will be advantageous here to quote paragraph 58 of Colonel Beddome’s report above referred to.

"The two following statements show all expenditure (establishment and working charges) and all receipts up to date. Mr. MacGregor, in his report which is only down to 1874, estimates all charges and receipts on the surrounding forests which are really part and parcel of the land handed over for planting, and he excludes the sale-proceeds on timber cut in these tracts and on timber cut on the tracts actually planted ; he also only debits a certain portion of the establishment charges (i.e., one-third) against the plantations. This does not appear to me the proper way to treat the question.

“Certain tracts of forests are taken up by Government for planting, and the felling and sale of the timber removed from the portions planted and the treatment as forest of such portions not adapted for planting are all necessarily part of the same transaction and cannot be treated separately. By the terms of the agreements we pay 30 per cent on the net proceeds of all jungle timber cut off plantation sites, and 50 per cent on the same cut in the "natural forests,” and a stump fee of one rupees on all teak and blackwood trees cut in the natural forest, so that to these operations two-thirds of the pay of establishment are also debited ; there is a loss instead of a profit ; so that Mr. MacGregor’s plan is a little in favour of the plantations although there is not much difference, but it leads to complication.”

The two statements referred to by Colonel Beddome in the above-quoted paragraph of his report are in much the same forms in which the statements A and B above given have been prepared, the only difference being that in A and B revenues and charges debitable respectively to “natural forests” and "plantations” have been at the suggestion of the Conservator of Forests more clearly brought out.

The following table shows the present classification of thinnings for the market with their estimated yield shown against each item :-

The following tabular statements C to E are in connection with the preliminary working scheme for five years' thinning of the teak plantations, framed by the Conservator of Forests when he inspected the division in October 1885. This has been recorded in detail in his inspection report embodied in Board’s Proceedings, No. 3263, F-659, dated 30th November 1885. The system has been adopted during the year and the result is yet to be decided.

C. — Statement showing approximately the number of trees which should be removed and left standing in the Teak Plantations during quinquennial periods from the 11th to 61st year of growth.

Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

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