Silvicultural practices in the management of Diospyros melanoxylon (Tendu) leaf production: options and trade‑offs

Anuja Anil Date , Ankila J. Hiremath, Atul Arvind Joshi and Sharachchandra Lele

Economic Botany | 23 March 2023

Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are known to provide livelihoods for forest-based communities across the world. While ensuring the sustainability of NTFP harvests is a key challenge, optimizing the production of NTFPs through appropriate silvicultural practices is also critical for forest-based economies. In Central India, the suitability of fire or pruning practices for enhancing the production of leaves of the tendu tree (Diospyros melanoxylon) has been much debated. While villagers commonly adopt annual litter fires, the state Forest Department urges leaf collectors to adopt the more labor-intensive practice of pruning. On the other hand, conservationists recommend completely hands-off management (no fire or pruning). In this study, we compared leaf production from the competing practices of litter fire, pruning, pruning-with-fire, and hands-off management, that are experimented with in community-managed forests.