'Clonal Technology'
For raising Eucalyptus / Subabul Plantations
To meet the raw material requirements of MDF & Particleboard projects
Selection of best trees for cloning
Ready for the fields after root treatment





Cloned Eucalyptus Plantation – 3 years old


Cloned Subabul Plantation – 3 years old

Treated root System of 5 year old Cloned Eucalyptus


Growth chart for 15 promising clones suitable for different agro-climatic systems

Clonal Technology-

Eucalyptus clonal technology was developed by French Scientists in Cango during 1984. The Brazilians further improved this technology & the Indian scientists who adopted the Brazilian technology in 1990’s, have perfected the same. The clonal technology has been standardized in India during the last 10 – 15 years.

80,000 m3 MDF production line needs around 1,20,000 tons of wood per year. Eucalyptus & Subabul are known for their outstanding growth & excellent yields. With the clonal technology, only 12,000 acres (4,800 hectares) need to be covered with Eucalyptus or 16,000 acres (6,400 hectares) need to be covered with Subabul to meet the raw material requirement of 80,000 m3 MDF plant.

The above figures are based on rain-fed conditions & the minimum rainfall needed is 500 mm per year, while the desirable rainfall in 700-800 mm. In case the average rainfall is less than 500 mm, the yield will be reduced. Eucalyptus can also be planted in slope areas, but the sloping should not be more than 300.

Yield pattern -

Under rain fed conditions, cloned Eucalyptus can give 40 tons of de-barked wood in 4 years’ time.

Under irrigated conditions, the yield will be double. The record yield was 188 tons per hectare (75 tons per acre) in 5 years under rain fed conditions and 250 tons per hectare (100 tons per acre) in 5 years under partial irrigated conditions.

The yield patterns are as under –

Harvesting in


2 years


20 tons per acre



2 ½ years


25 tons per acre



3 years


30 tons per acre



4 years


40 tons per acre

By increasing the density of plants to 1250 or 1800 per acre as against the normal recommended 900 per acre, the yields can be further increased.The productivity of cloned Eucalyptus is 3-4 times more when compared to normal seed route plantations. Cloned Eucalyptus can grow in a wide range of environmental conditions & in the pH range of 6 to 9.

The Clonal project and investment-

The capital cost of setting up a Gene Bank, Laboratory, Green house, Shadenets & the entire nursery project comes to Rs. 2 crores for 80,000 m3 line. This investment excludes land. The land requirement is around 50 acres for a 36 lakh clonal facility, which will provide sufficient raw materials for 80,000 m3 MDF Line.

The Gene bank houses 4,000 trees per acre. The trees are allowed to grow initially for 1 ½ years & then cut at the bottom level. Within a week, 5 – 6 offshoots are formed around each cut-tree & these offshoots are selected for cloning. This cutting process is repeated every 6 months - up to 5 years, before the new Gene trees are replaced.

The saplings cut from the off shoots of mother gene-trees are treated in the mist chamber for 21 days controlling the temperature, humidity & light. Then they are transferred to shade net for 45 days. The mother roots are cut in 25-30 days to develop the anchor and feeder root system. After this root training, clones are moved to the hardening chamber for a week’s time. They are finally acclimatized for another 4 months in the open nursery. The entire project can be managed as a profit – centre.

The cloned plants are ready to be delivered to the farmers at this stage, when they are 6 months old and at 1 ft. height with well – formed root balls.

Around 900 plants are needed per acre & each plant can be sold at Rs. 8/- to the farmers. Farmers can re-use the stems for 3 crops in rotation spread over a period of 12 years.

Myths on Eucalypyus-

Contrary to the general belief, plantation of cloned Eucalyptus does not add to soil erosion or depletion of underground water. In the clonal technology, Eucalyptus roots will not go below 3 -5 ft. inside the soil. Hence the allegation that ‘Eucalyptus roots go down & extract underground water’ becomes a myth.

Cloned Eucalyptus leaves have just 3 % oil on dry basis. Fibre quality is much superior when compared to Acacia/Mangium. Other allegatio-ns on Eucalyptus are also addressed to a large extent in the cloning technology, as under –

  • Eucalyptus trees take longer time to add to the soil. By ploughing the soil 3-4 times in a year, Eucalyptus leaves get mulched with the soil faster.
  • Eucalyptus leaves are acidic & make the soil acidic. If alkaline soils are selected for raising Eucalyptus plantations, they automatically become neutral and fertile soils on a long run. If neutral / acidic soils are selected, by replenishing with 2 – 3 tons of Gypsum per acre or by inter-cropping with legumes during the first 1 year or by cultivating lemon family trees (citric fruits) for 1-2 years after 3 rotations of Eucalyptus (after 12 years), it is easier to neutralize the soil.
  • To improve the soil conditions, farmers normally add 150 kgs of SSP (Single Super Phosphate ) every year & plough the land when the moisture is present.

The Strength of cloning-

In the clonal technology, exceptionally fast growing, higher yielding & disease resistant clones have been carefully selected, based on extensive field trials and evaluation of hundreds of clones. These uniform, true-to-type, high quality planting stocks with all the desirable genetic qualities have been field-tested & only proven superior gene-types have been multiplied through vegetative propagation, under controlled environment in green houses.

The cloned plants can be re-used for 3 rotations. The equally higher yield and returns from the second and third rotations have resulted in prosperity to the growers.

Wasteland utilisation-

Cloned plantations provide significant opportunities to economically backward wasteland owners. India has 33 million hectares of wastelands, where the rainfall is above 400 mm per year. Even if 1% of these wastelands are utilized by raising plantations, it can provide 66 lakh tons of Eucalyptus per year, which is sufficient for 55 MDF production lines.

The Indian Government has nearly 73 million hectares i.e., 23% its geographical area as forest land. But the contribution of forest sector to the gross domestic product (GDP) has been less than 2% over the last many years.

Social & ecological benefits of clonal plantations-

  1. Clonal plantations provide effective green cover; help conservation of precious soil and water resources.
  2. They restore marginal / wastelands to sustainable productive lands, improve soil fertility through increased microbiological activity, add humus & recycle plant nutrients.
  3. Plantation of cloned Eucalyptus on each hectare will save 30-40 hectares of natural forests, thus minimizing biotic pressure. Significant sequestration of carbon (GHG reduction) is being achieved from the fast growing clonal plantations.
    Clonal plantations save virgin forests by planting trees in wastelands. This directly or indirectly creates social employment, generates additional income to the farmers, increases rainfall & reduces carbon-di-oxide levels in the atmosphere.
  4. Contribute to environmental amelioration, prevent soil erosion, minimize surface run –off of rain water & regulate stream flow.
  5. Eucalyptus consumes less water per unit of wood produced, compared to most other tree species.
  6. Clones have adventitious root system, which cannot go beyond 1.5 metre depth to draw precious under ground water.
  7. MDF made from the plantation timbers is a wood substitute, saving precious foreign exchange, as large quantities of wood & MDF are being imported into India at high prices.
  8. MDF Panels made from the renewable plantation timbers not only reduce the growing world-wide pressure on the timber industry, but can also address rural environment concerns. Plantation timbers can create new fibre markets, new jobs & can return revenue & benefits directly to the farmers.
  9. MDF & CTMP are in great demand in the Middle East & Far East nations of Asia. India is strategically located to export any surplus production on a long term, if needed.
  10. Plantation timbers are eligible to secure funds under international carbon trading, as they reduce carbon-di-oxide emissions.

Carbon di–oxide is generated by the industrial emissions, effecting climate changes. This CO2 is absorbed by the trees from the air. Trees use this to make sugar, starch, cellulose & wood. About 50% of a tree’s dry weight is carbon.

Planting 1,00,000 hectares of social forestry can remove 1 million tons of carbon or 3.75 million tons of carbon-di-oxide from the atmosphere, thus making eligible for a carbon credit value of USD 30 million. As per the recent World Bank report, the country has huge tracts of plantation land, estimated to be over 15 million hectares and could emerge as one of the largest beneficiaries of carbon trading in the world.

Clonal plantations can be developed in the following ways-

  1. Farm forestry - Under this arrangement, the plants are sold to the farmers to raise plantations in their own lands, with buy-back arrangement. This is the most popular method among paper factories in India.
  2. Social forestry – Various State Governments have formed VSS (Vana Samrakshana Samithis), where the tribal groups living in the vicinity of forests will be allotted 300-400 acres of forest lands for raising plantations. On a tripartite agreement with the VSS, State Government & also with NABARD who will finance the project, a large area can be brought under plantations. For example in AP, there are 8,000 VSS’s & in Gujarat, there are 2,000 VSS’s.
  3. Captive plantations - MDF plants all over the world own sizeable lands to raise captive plantations. The average cost of raising 1 ton of Eucalyptus comes to Rs. 1,000/- with the clonal technology. If the entrepreneur purchases 100 acres of land @ Rs. 50,000 per acre, cost of this land will be paid back in less than 5 years from the plantation revenues.

Clonal technology – Proven & time tested model-

  • Commercial production of 86 fast growing, high yielding and disease-resistant clones.
  • 23 site-specific clones for saline & alkaline soils and suitable for wide range of environmental conditions throughout the country.
  • Survival rate is more than 90%.
  • More than 1,00,000 hectares of clonal plantations already in operation in India.

Requirement of Eucalyptus for various capacities of MDF projects –


Plant capacity

Eucalyptus requirement per year

Area under Eucalyptus (based on 40 tons of yield in 4 years)

Add: Buffer area @ 33%

Total area required

No. of Plants needed (based on 900 plants per acre)

Land required for Gene Bank & Nursery

30,000 m3/year

45,000 tons

4,500 acres



6,000 acres

(2,400 hectares)

13.50 lakhs per year

25 acres

50,000 m3/year

75,000 tons

7,500 acres



10,000 acres

(4,000 hectares)

22.50 lakhs

per year

35 acres

80,000 m3/year

1,20,000 tons

12,000 acres



16,000 acres

(6,400 hectares)

36.00 lakhs

per year

50 acres

Profitablilty estimates on a model of 300 acres of captive Eucalyptus Plantation, with irrigation facility -

Sl. No.




(Rs. in lakhs)


Land cost

Rs. 50,000 per acre



Solar fencing

1 km = Rs. 50,000



Land preparation

Rs. 1,500 per acre



Infrastructure & Electrical line

including Transformer



Planting of 1,250 Cloned Eucalyptus per acre

Rs. 8 each



Fertilizers & Pesticides

Rs. 1,500 per acre x 4 years



Pitting, Planting etc.

Rs. 2 per plant



Bore wells & motors

20 bore wells @ Rs. 40,000 each



Weeding & soil working

Rs. 1,000 per acre



Drip irrigation system

Rs. 9,000 per acre




Rs. 500 per acre x 4 years



Fertilizers & Pesticides II

Rs. 1,000 per acre x 4 years



Irrigation maintenance




Supervision, watch & ward




Administrative expenses




Tractor, Trailer & agricultural implements




Running & maintenance of Tractor & Trailer




Total expenses




Interest on capital @ 10% -spread over 4 years




Total expenses including interest




Returns: De-barked Eucalyptus - 75 tons per acre (under protective irrigation) @ Rs. 2,000 per ton, on farm gate basis






Profit, after recovering the land cost





1. Minimum model for management is 100 acres.

2. The yield under rain fed condition is 40 Tons per acre on a 4 year’s rotation. 3 rotations are possible with the same plant. However in the 3rd rotation, the yield will be 35 tons per acre.

Survey of Plantation timbers in India –

  1. Poplar – Poplar is the most important plantation timber, which is mainly grown in UP, Haryana, Himachal & Punjab to the extent of 60 lakh tons per year. Poplar needs 6 years to grow & yields 150 tons per hectare or 60 tons per acre (without de-barking). Poplar has 20% bark content. It is a medium hardwood.Poplar is mainly used for paper pulp & for match sticks. Bigger poplar trees go for veneering.Poplar needs high elevation & low temperature base during certain months in a year. It is not recommended for cultivation below the tropic of cancer (below 230). Cloning of Poplar is much easier & practiced all over India & China.
  2. Acasia - Acasia is grown mainly in AP, Orissa & Chattisgargh states. It is a slow growing tree, but has a good fibre value. The total availability of Acasia is around 2 lakh tons per year.
  3. Mangium – Mangium is known for its grains, which is comparable to teak. It takes 10 years to grow. Its fibre value is not good for pulping.
  4. Casurina - Casurina is grown along with the coastal lines throughout India. It needs sandy soil. It has a good fibre value. The bark contents are around 10%. Casurina is harvested once in 5 years. In India, Casurina plantations are estimated as 30 lakh tons per year, while in AP it is around 10-15 lakh tons, in Tamilnadu 7-8 lakh tons, Orissa 2-3 lakh tons & in Gujarat & Bengal 1 lakh tons each.
  5. Subabul – Subabul is a multi-purpose tree, which yields 15-20 tons of wood per acre in 2 years & 20-25 tons in 2 ½ -3 years time. It has very good pulping qualities. It’s bark contents are 10% & It can be used along with the bark for Paper Pulping / MDF Pulping.Subabul is also a source of bio-manure & vegetable oil. Its leaves are used as fodder for cattle feeding.The estimated availability of Subabul in India is around 20 lakh tons per year, out of which AP alone contributes 15-16 lakh tons & Gujarat 1-2 lakh tons.
  6. Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus is cultivated in the following major states of India –



    15-16 lakh tons per year



    9-10 lakh tons per year



    5-6 lakh tons per year (mainly under Government Plantations)



    6-7 lakh tons per year

    UP belt

    (UP, Haryana, etc.)


    15-20 lakh tons per year

    West Bengal


    10 lakh tons per year

    Total estimated availability in India



    10 million tons per year

The above varieties of plantation timbers are suitable for Plywood, Poles, Paper pulping, Particleboard & MDF. In addition, rubberwood, Juliflora or any other firewood / wood waste including saw dust & even the annually renewable fibres like elephant grass, cotton stalks & sugarcane bagasse can be used for making Particleboard & MDF.

Indian paper Industry needs 10 million tons of pulpwood per year. This is in addition to the large demand from plywood & from poles used in the construction sector. The new demand from Particleboard, MDF & CTMP sectors will be another 2 million tons in the next 5-10 years.

India is importing more than Rs. 2,500 crores of paper grade pulp & Rs. 5,000 crores of Newsprint every year due to the shortage of pulpwood in the country.

Plantations through the seed route have resulted in poor survival rate. Over the years, it was found that seed route plantations are not viable as commercial crops. Clonal technology is the only answer to increase farm productivity & to provide attractive returns to the farmers.

For more details, please contact –

Goodrich Sugar & Chemical Complex Limited

No. 16, 2nd Main, 2nd Cross,

AECS Layout 3rd Stage,

Sanjaynagar, Bangalore – 560 094,

Karnataka, India.
Ph: 0091 - 80 – 23411400

Fax: 0091 - 80 – 23410388




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