| Calliandra : A Versatile Small Tree for the Humid Tropics |
This report describes a little-known tree legume, Calliandra calothyrsus. In 1936, foresters transported seed in this small Central American tree from Guatemala to Indonesia. They were interested in calliandra and other legumes as possible green manures or shade trees in coffee plantations. In particular, they wanted an alternative to leucaena, notably for use at high altitudes, where leucaena did not perform well.
The foresters planted test plots of calliandra in a few places in East Java, but World War II and the subsequent fighting in Indonesia interrupted the investigations, and for 20 years the plant remained largely forgotten by science.
Then, in the 1960s, administrators of Perum Perhutani, the government forest corporation of Java, noted that villagers in East Java had spontaneously adopted calliandra and were cultivating it for their firewood needs. The villagers were so successful that in 1974 Perum Perhutani began encouraging the widespread testing and planting of calliandra. By 198 l the steadily expanding plantations, many planted by villagers themselves, covered almost 2,000 km2 on Java. Today Javanese cultivate calliandra widely, often intercropping it with fruit trees and vegetables. The tree has become so popular in rural areas that "Kaliandra" is now a widely used name for children.
However, calliandra remains essentially unknown elsewhere, and the purpose of this report is to recount Java's experience in the hope that other countries will be encouraged to investigate calliandra's promise for themselves. It is not our intent to recommend it over conventional reforestation species. Instead, we suggest testing calliandra as a possible supplementary species, particularly for villages and remote rural areas, where it may provide enough fuel and fodder that forest plantations and natural forests are spared destruction.
This report results from meetings and field trips held in Java from May 11 to 15, 1981. During this period a joint panel of Indonesian scientists and National Research Council panel members traveled to Bogor, Gunung Arca, Surabaya, Mojokerto, Toyomerto village, Punten,
Trawas, Tangkep, Deles, Tretes, Solo (Surakarta), Malang, Batu, Sidorejo village, Sekipan, Yogyakarta, and Jakarta. At most sites the panel met with local foresters and village chiefs and was able to see calliandra in use in forest and village situations.
The panel is indebted to Sukiman Atmosudaryo, professor emeritus and former director of
Perum Perhutani, and to the many members of his staff (especially Mrs. Sri Purwaningsih and Ir. Soedjadi Martodiwirjo) who made the complex field trips so pleasant and instructive.
The visitors were impressed with-and even overhelmed by-the precision and attention to detail that characterised the meetings.
The Advisory Committee on Technology Innovation of the National Research Council's Board on Science and Technology for International Development is assessing scientific and technological advances that might prove especially applicable to problems of developing countries.
This report is one of a series, Innovations in Tropical Reforestation.. Other titles are:
· Leucaena: PromisingForage and Tree Crop for the Tropics (1977)
· Firewood Crops: Shrub and Tree Species for Energy Production, Volume I (1980)
· SowingForests From the Air (1981)
· Firewood Crops: Shrub and Tree Species for Energy Production, Volume II (1983)
· Mangium and Other Fast-Growing Acacias for the Humid Tropics (1983)
· Casuarinas: Nitrogen-Fixing Trees for Adverse Sites. (1983)
Information on promising fast-growing trees is also contained in Tropical Legumes:
Resources for the Future. An updated edition of the 1977 leucaena book is in preparation.
These activities are supported largely by the U.S. Agency for International Development (AID). This study was sponsored by AID's Bureau for Asia and the Office of the Science
Free distribution of this report in developing countries and to members of the development community is made possible by a grant from AID's Office of the Science Advisor.