PESHAWAR: Sesbania, an environmentally friendly and fast growing plant specie, has been grown for the first time in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on experimental basis under commercial forestry concept.
“A small forest, spreading over an area of 259 acres, around two kilometers of land is grown in Tehkal area of Peshawar,” discloses Mujtaba Ali Zaidi, Director Forestry ZRK Group of Industries, biggest MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) industry in South Asia.
This is the first time that sesbania has been introduced in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and if the experiment proved successful, it will change the concept of commercial forestry in the region where main focus of growers is on planting of poplar and eucalyptus trees, Mujtaba opined.
Talking to reporter, Mujtaba Zaidi said ZRK industry took the risk of experimenting sesbania plantation by importing the seed from Sind province.
Sesbania is not only environmentally friendly because of being leguminous which has nitrogen fixing capability, but it is also fast growing which matures for harvesting within two and a half years to three years.
The growing period of poplar and eucalyptus is five to six years and environmentalists also raise objections over these two species because of more water demands. Whereas sesbania is a fast growing tree and is also economically beneficial because of its short maturity period, he reiterated.
Zaidi informed that ZRK group has obtained 259 acre land in Tehkal from Pakistan Army on lease basis and planted thousands of trees over it, growing a small forest over an empty and barren land.
He appraised that in Sindh sesbania grows and became ready for harvesting in two years while in KP it is expected to take three years or six months more. It depends on climate of both the region as Sindh is much tropical than KP, he continued.
“Sesbania is a pea family plant and its leaves are highly nutritious because of symbiotic bacteria in its roots,” informs Mohammad Nauman, Manager Forestry ZRK.Talking to reporter, Nauman said the plantation at Tehkal was made in August 2016 and within a year trees have shown good growth. Sharing his experience of growing sesbania in KP for first time, he said, the plant needs care and proper water in initial stage.
He also informed that sesbania is a flower producing plant and therefore growers can also take advantage of beekeeping from the forest.
Nauman was also of the opinion that success of growing sesbania will divert the attention of forest growers in KP and change the pattern of growing poplar and eucalyptus.
He opined that such experiments should be conducted by Forest department especially Pakistan Forest Institute (PFI) for introducing new tree species for plantation which can fulfill needs of wood based industries besides having environmental benefits. Early harvesting period will also attract more planation which ensues in increasing green cover in the country, he added.