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Down, but Not Out - Sandal in Karnataka

Author Name: Dipak Sarmah, IFS (Retd.) | Format: Paperback | Genre : Outdoors & Nature | Other Details

Blessed with extensive tracts of natural forest harboring the sandal tree (Santalum album L.), the Indian state of Karnataka was a leading producer of sandalwood, the most valuable product of the tropical forest. However, due to rampant smuggling during the last three-four decades, Karnataka’s sandalwood production slipped to abysmally low levels, with hardly any mature sandal tree being left in the forests. What, however, is providential about the sandal is its resilience to fight for survival in the face of hostile situations. Because of this resilience, sandal has been able not only to survive in areas where it occurred naturally but also to surface in areas where it was not known to have existed in the past. This extraordinary ability of sandal to survive, adjust and propagate against heavy odds provides a beacon of hope that it is still possible to restore the lost glory of sandal in Karnataka’s forests. The book, ‘Down, but Not Out – Sandal in Karnataka’, attempts at sharing some information about the extensive sandal-bearing forests that existed throughout the length and breadth of Karnataka and how they responded to management interventions during the past two hundred years. It also dwells upon the challenges associated with the management of sandal in the context of its rapidly dwindling population and suggests ways and means to re-establish and replenish its depleted stock, ensuring that the new crop of sandal does not face the same fate as the old crop did in the past.

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Dipak Sarmah, IFS (Retd.)

Shri Dipak Sarmah, a retired Indian Forest Service (1977) officer of the Karnataka cadre, started his career in the Western Ghats, serving in the region for more than a decade. He also served in the Government of India as a Deputy Adviser, Planning Commission, and as Deputy Inspector General of Forests, Forest Policy, MoEF (1991-1995). Later, he served in several positions in the Government of Karnataka including Secretary (Forest), PCCF (Wildlife) and Chief Wildlife Warden, superannuating in December 2013 as PCCF (Head of Forest Force). Post retirement, Shri Sarmah has devoted himself to writing on various aspects of forests and forestry of Karnataka. He is the author of many books, namely ‘Status of Forests of Karnataka’, ‘Forestry in Karnataka – A Journey of 150 Years’, ‘Forests of Karnataka – A Panoramic View’, ‘Wildlife Management in Karnataka – A Forester’s Perspective’, ‘Forestry in India during British Era – Karnataka Case-study’, ‘Agroforestry in Karnataka – A Golden Opportunity for Green Growth’, ‘Dry Deciduous Forests of Karnataka – Adding Years to Their Life, and to Ours’, ‘Forests and Trees of Karnataka – A Journey in Time through Buchanan’s Eyes’ and ‘Stranger at Home – Teak Forests of Karnataka’. In 2011, Shri Dipak Sarmah was nominated by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India to the Monitoring Committee to supervise mining operations and the sale of iron ore in Karnataka. He continues to serve as the Chairman of the Committee to date.

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