Retapping Chir Pines Trees the Environmentally Friendly Way

This research was carried out by Dilip Singh Mutum as part of the requirement for the Master of Science in Forestry degree in Dr. Yaswant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India, 1997.


Out of five pines occurring naturally in India ,viz., Pinus roxburghii  Sargent, Pinus wallichiana Jackson, Pinus gerardiana Wall., Pinus kesiya Royle ex Gord and Pinus armandi French, only  Pinus roxburghii Sargent (Chir pine or Himalayan long leaf pine) is tapped commercially for resin.

Oleo-resin on distillation yieds an essential oil, commonly known as turpentine oil and a non-volatile product, the rosin or calophony. The proportion of rosin and turpentine oil in Chir is 75% and 22% respectively with 3% losses, etc. Turpentine oil is chiefly used as a solvent in pharmaceutical preparations, perfume industry, in manufacture of synthetic pine oil, disinfectants, insecticides and denaturants. It is one of the most important basic raw materials for the synthesis of terpene chemicals which are used in a wide variety of industries such as adhesives, paper and rubber, etc. 
Rosin is principally used in paper, soap, cosmetics, paint, varnish, rubber and polish industries. Besides these, other uses include, manufacture of linoleum, explosives, insecticides and disinfectants, as a flux in soldering, in brewing and in mineral benefication as a frothing agent. Presently, India, imports resin which is far superior in quality as well as cheaper than the indegenous one (CSIR, 1969). Quality of resin depends on the pinene content. Imported resin contains 75-95% whereas, Indian resin contains only about 25% pinenes (Chaudahari et al, 1996).

Chir pine tree tapped by the cup and lip methd

Resin tapping was started on an experimental scale in Uttar Pradesh around 1890, which was commercialised in 1896. It was extended to Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh in 1940 and 1945 respectively (Singh and Asokan, 1984). The old method used for resin tapping was the faulty French cup and lip method. This method has been replaced by the rill method while protecting the tree also exudes more resin (Kaushal and Khosla, 1984). The cup and lip method had no control on the depth of the blaze and resu;lted in deeply wounded trees, which often gave way to high velocity winds.  

The decline in resin production is of serious concern. The study seeks to find out the possibility of retapping healed blazes which had been earlier tapped by the Cup and Lip method.  

Material and methods

For the study, three trees of the same diameter class (1.50-1.55 m at dbh) which had been  tapped for oleo-resin by the "Cup and Lip" method upto 1989 were selected. The study site falls under Gulhari Beat, Dharampur Range, Solan Forest Division, Himachal Pradesh, India. Altitude of the site is around 1600m above msl, aspect south-eastern and having moderate slope. No tapping was in progress when the study was carried out.

Results, Conclusion and Recommendations

For the external Wood healing studies, measurements were carried out using tape and foot rule on the standing trees. Wood healing of the blazes initiated by the formation of callus from the edges of the channels.
The nature of wound healing ultimately results in spindle shaped wound in healing channels. It was found that channels with similarly aged blazes have not healed identically. This unequal nature of healing in the three different trees was due to several factors including environment, physiology of the tree and also due to unequal depths of the blazes during tapping operations.

Resin Channel nearly occluded

Occlusion was more at the bottom as compared to the top portion of the channel. This is in line with findings of Joshi (1975) in Chir pine trees. This is probably due to the fact that older blazes are at the bottom of a channel.
In all the three trees, the oldest channels having blazes twenty years and above had almost or completely occluded leaving only a narrow grove. This represents a more rapid rate of occlusion at this site than that reported by Joshi (1975) under conditions existing in Kaligarh 16 where occlusion had occurred after about 30 years.
There was sufficient space between the grooves of the healed cu blazes to restart tapping by the rill method. This would present one solution to arrest the decline of resin production in the country. This is supported by Chaudhari et al (1996) who showed that retapping healed up channels by the Rill method is economically viable.


  1. Chaudhari , DC; DN Uniyal and MP Shiva, 1988. Comparative studies on the healing on the healing rate of blazes tapped by Cup and Lip method (channels) and �Rill� method (rills) in Pinus roxburghii. Ind. For. 114(8): 446-452.

  2. CSIR, 1969, 1969. Wealth of India. Raw Materials. Vol. VIII: Ph-Ro. New Delhi: Publications and Information Directorate, CSIR. pp. 69-78.

  3. Joshi, HB 1975. Note on occlusion of resin channels in a chir pine. Ind. For. 101 (5) 259-263.

  4. Kaushal, A.N. and Khosla, P.K.1984. Potential of economic utility of Pines : Proceedings of IUFRO group P.S.01 held at Manuas (Brazil): pp. 18-2

  5. Singh, G. And Asokan, S.R. 1984. Economic and management aspects of harvesting and processing resin in India. Ahmedabad : Centre for Management in Agri. Indian Institute of Management.

Top     Back