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1. Question: What is wood drying  

Answer: Wood drying or seasoning is removing excess moisture from wood in a controlled manner and bringing moisture content to the required equilibrium level depending on the end-product and the environment in which it is to be used. The timber of living trees and freshly felled logs contains a large amount of water, which often constitutes over 50% of the woods actual weight. Water has a significant influence on wood: wood continually exchanges moisture (water) with its surroundings, although the rate of exchange is strongly affected by the degree wood is sealed.

2. Question:  How the moisture present is wood?

Answer:  Water in wood may be present in two forms:

1.      Free water: The bulk of water contained in the cell lumina is only held by capillary forces: it is not bound chemically and is termed free water. Free water is not in the same thermodynamic state as liquid water: energy is required to overcome the capillary forces. Furthermore, free water may contain chemicals, altering the drying characteristics.

2.      Bound or hygroscopic water: Bound water is bound to the wood via hydrogen bonds. The attraction of wood for water arises from the presence of free hydroxyl (OH) groups in the cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin molecules in the cell wall. The hydroxyl groups are negatively charged electrically. Water is a polar liquid. The free hydroxyl groups in cellulose attract and hold water by hydrogen bonding.

3. Question:  What are the advantages of wood drying? 


  • Drying avoids risk of developing stain, decay, or mold as a result of fungal activity

  • Dried timber is typically more than twice as strong as wet timber

  • Drying improves nail and screw holding properties of wood

  • Dried wood is easy for transportation and handling

  • Drying improves dimensional stability

  • Drying improves gluing, machining, and finishing

  • Drying improves electrical and thermal insulation

  • Dried wood is easy to treat with preservatives


4. Question:  What is Equivalent moisture content

Answer:  The equilibrium moisture content (EMC) is the moisture content at which the wood is neither gaining or losing moisture; this however, is a dynamic equilibrium and changes with relative humidity and temperature.


5. Question:  What is wood preservative?

Answer:  Wood Preservatives are chemical substances, which are applied to wood to make it resistant to attack against decaying agents.  

6. Question:  What are the advantages of wood preservation?


         Non durable timbers/ Bamboo when suitably treated, would give adequate life under service conditions.

  • Reduces the maintenance costs by avoiding frequent replacements of timber.

  • Widens the choice of timber species for different end uses by upgrading the non-durable timbers to durable timbers.

  • Preservative treatment of timber/bamboo, therefore, forms a very important part of the national effort to conserve the material resources of the country.

7. Question:  What are the common agents of wood deterioration?


  • Termites

  • Insects

  • Borers

  • Fungi

  • Marine borers 

8. Question:  What is wood modification 

Answer: Wood modification is the changing the chemical structure of wood by physical (thermal modification) or chemical treatments (chemical modification).  One of the most important chemical modification reactions is acetylation of wood wherein, the free hydroxyl groups within the wood are replaced by hydrophobic acetyl groups. This reduces the ability of the wood to absorb water to great extent, rendering the wood more dimensionally stable and durable.  

9. Question: What are the properties of chemically modified wood


         Outstanding dimensional stability

         Improved durability - class 1 durability.

         Improves coatings adhesion and enhances the service life of paints and varnishes.

         Superior resistance to the effects of UV exposure therefore the natural appearance is retained for longer duration.

         Modified wood retained natural strength and beauty

         Modified wood is non-toxic and can be safely reused and recycled

         Modified wood can substitute wood that has been chemically treated using toxic preservatives.


10. Question: Is it possible to hire IWST as a consultant for different forestry  projects?

 Answer:  IWST undertakes consultancy projects under various forestry disciplines.  Please contact Director for further details.


11. Question: Can I undergo a short term training in one of the labs of IWST?

 Answer: Yes.  Please refer the website  and write to Director, IWST from your Institution Head.


12. Question: Will I get advise on what kind of trees to plant in my land and how to cultivate them?

Answer: Yes.  Contact the Extension Officer.  He may direct you to concerned Scientist if necessary.


13. Question: What are the different bamboo species for which tissue culture protocol has been developed?

Answer: We have already developed tissue culture protocols for Dendrocalamus strictus, Bambusa arundinacea,  Oxytenanthera stocksii, Bambusa nutans and Dendrocalamus brandisii, Guadua angustifolia.


14. Question: Are TC plants of bamboo available for sale?. If so what is the cost ?

Answer: Currently plants of D. stocksii and Guadua angustifolia are available. The price fixed for TC plants is rs 20/plant and for rooted cuttings it is Rs 10/plant. Pl contact Director, IWST  for further details


15. Question: Have the tissue culture plants evaluated for their performance in the field?

Answer: We are presently field-testing tissue culture raised plants of bamboo and comparing their growth performance with seedlings and vegetative propagated material. At 4 yr we have not found any significant difference in growth performance.


16. Question: Can the equipments in the laboratory be utilised for research purposes by universities/  private organizations?

Answer: Yes. But prior permission from the Director, IFGTB, need to be obtained through proper channel.


17. Question: Do you sell tree seeds? If so what is the cost and related details.

Answer: No. We do not sell for frest tree seeds. You may contact IFGTB, our sister Institute. They  sell seeds of Casuarina, Eucalyptus, Acacia, Teak and Neem.  Cost details are available at FAQs of IFGTB, Coimbatore.


18. Question: Is it possible to carryout thesis/dissertation/project work at your Institute?

Answer: Yes, students are selected for carrying out thesis / dissertation / project work at IWST. The Director, IWSTmay be  contacted for further details.


19. Question: On what aspects does the Institute provide training?

Answer: Please visit website of IWST


20. Question: Is there any service available to diagnose pests and disease problems of forest seeds, nurseries and plantations?

Answer: Expertise available  for diagnose of  forest nurseries and plantations pests and  diseases.


21. Question: Can sandalwood trees be grown by farmer on his private land ?

Answer: Yes. Amendments to Forest act in 2001 and 2002 have recognized private ownership of tree.


22. Question: Can one sell the tree to any private individual ?

Answer: Currently in Karnataka one can sell the tree to  State Forest Dept. Since 2006 notified Govt agencies like KSDL  and KSHDC are also authorized to procure  sandalwood from private farmers 


23. Question: Does one get smell of sandal oil when walking through a sandalwood plantation?

Answer: No, only when the tree is cut the fragrance is emitted. In fact, sandal wood fragrance and oil is obtained from heartwood portion of the tree and not from any part of the tree such as bark, leaves, flowers and seeds.


24. Question: Can sandal trees can be harvested by the end of ten years ?

Answer: No, presently there is no concrete evidence suggesting that sandal can be harvested by the end of 10 years because the available literature clearly says that heartwood initiation starts only after 7th or 8th year. The Sandal brouchure of IWST based on available literature and data from sandal depots of State Forest Depts says that trees may be harvested after 15 -20 yrs. The longer it is retained the value will increase but risk factors like possibility of theft may also increase.


25. Question: Are there varieties or clones of sandalwood  available in the market which have high oil content?

Answer: No, at present there are no clones or varieties available. However, studies conducted at the institute have shown few clones to have high oil content. But studies are still in progress and clones are not available for sale.


26. Question: How does sandal respond to irrigation and fertilisation?

Answer: As any other tree, sandal responds very well to irrigation, but till today we do not have a scientific evidence that can suggest that because of irrigation and fertilisation the oil content can increase.


27. Question: Sandal tree is a very delicate tree hence can it be grown in farmlands?

Answer: No, in nature sandal trees basically grows well in harsh conditions. In fact it grows in dry and scrub forests and the finest oil obtained is from  trees growing in such harsh conditions.


28. Question: Once heartwood is formed will sandal oil also be present ?

Answer: No, heartwood formation and oil formation are two independent processes. Oil formation can happen only if heartwood is there, but it is not necessary that they have to occur simultaneously, however as the tree ages oil formation does takes place. 


29. Question: Is sandal cultivation a profitable enterprise ?

Answer: Yes, sandal cultivation is profitable. Cost of sandal oil is not expected to reduce in the near future. Though, the yield will not be available immediately as in case of short term agricultural or horticultural crop, the profit earned will certainly be of very high proportion compared to the expenses incurred.


30. Question: Are tissue culture plants of sandal available in market?

Answer: Currently we are not aware of any such plants. IWST has produced tissue culture plants under lab conditions. However commercial scale production still requires some fine tuning at R&D level. 


31. Question: Are seedlings of sandal available with IWST ?. If so what is the price?

Answer: Since 2006, IWST has been raising Quality planting stock of sandal seedlings on a large scale. Till 2009 the price was Rs 10/seedling. This is expected to be revised to Rs 15/seedling from June 2010 considering the enhance production cost.


32. Question: Is there heavy demand for sandal seedlings from public ?.

Answer: Yes. Currently IWST is not able to fully meet the demand from sandal seedlings raised from various stake holders.


33. Question: Can we give indent for purchase of sandal seedlings in advance ?

Answer: Yes. We accept indents and prioritize the seedling delivery on first come first basis.


34. Question: Is there any literature on sandal cultivation at IWST?

Answer: Yes. IWST has published a brochure on Sandalwood and it is available to general public for Rs 60/-. Interested parties may please contact Extension Officer, IWST. 


35. Question: Does IWST conduct specialized training programmes on sandal cultivation?

Answer: Yes. Two trainings of 5 day duration are conducted  in month of feb and Sept every year. Please see website for details. Interested parties can write to Director, IWST. 


36. Question: What is the course fee for such training and what all information does one get?

Answer: Currently the course fee is Rs 7500/- which includes boarding, lodging, study materials and field tours. The fee can be paid by DD in favour of director, IWST. This course is comprehensive and covers various aspects of sandal cultivation right from seed collection, processing, pre treatment, seed germination, nursery raising and maintenance, aftercare, plant protection, chemistry aspects of sandal oil, designing sandal  based agroforestry, economics, policy aspects and sale procedures. This course has been appreciated by commercial nursery managers, farmers and private anterpreuners.


37. Question: Without biological deterioration how long can wood be durable and useful?

Answer: Wood can remain undamaged for thousands of years if protected against biodeterioration. The strength and life of timber is determined by the characters of the species of wood.


38. Question: In 100% dry situations, can the decay fungi attack and damage wood?

Answer: Without moisture, the decay fungi cannot live and hence they cannot attack wood. At least 20% moisture is normally required.


39. Question: What is timber packing and dunnage?

Answer: Packing is used to support, protect or carry a commodity and can be made of timber or other materials.  Packing includes dunnage, pallets, crating, packing blocks, drums, cases etc. Dunnage is used to secure or support a commodity but does not remain associated with the commodity.


40. Question: What is ISPM 15 and why was it developed?

Answer: ISPM 15 is the 'International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures Publication No. 15: Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade'.  ISPM 15 was developed to address the global spread of timber pests by regulating the movement of timber packing and dunnage in international trade. It describes phytosanitary measures to reduce the risk of introduction and/or spread of quarantine pests associated with timber packing material.


41. Question: Who developed and endorsed ISPM 15? 

Answer: The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) addresses plant quarantine through the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is an international treaty administered by the FAO and implemented through the cooperation of member governments. India is a member or 'contracting party' to the treaty. ISPMs are recognised as the basis for phytosanitary measures applied by members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) under the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures.


42. Question: Will fumigating wooden pallets and boxes get rid of Fungal infection?

Answer: No. Methyl bromide is very effective against insect pests, but is not lethal to commonly found fungal species. Anti-fungal treatment of the wooden packaging material is required to avoid fungal attack.


43. Question: Why does the revised (2009) ISPM-15 require all timber packing (including dunnage) to be free of bark?

Answer: Bark harbours many pathogens and  insect pests of quarantine concern.  The presence of bark also hampers inspection procedures and may reduce the effectiveness of methyl bromide fumigation. For these reasons, countries require imported timber packing to be free of bark. 


44. Question: Do the ISPM 15 approved measures of heat treatment and methyl bromide fumigation offer permanent protection to timber packing against timber and non-timber pests?

Answer: The treatments only control pests present at the time of treatment. Post-treatment infestation of solid timber packing is an important quarantine issue.


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  Last Updated on 20-03-2019