4712 Words Nov 3rd, 2012 19 Pages
Paraserianthes falcataria - Southeast Asia's Growth Champion
By whatever common or scientific names it is known, Paraserianthes falcataria (L.) Nielsen is a valuable multipurpose tree for the humid tropics. One of the fastest growing of all tree species, it is used for pulp and other wood products, fuelwood, ornamental plantings and shade for coffee, tea and cattle. Potential uses for which it is being tested include alley farming and intercropping in forest plantations. BOTANY: "Falcataria" belongs to the Leguminosae (subfamily: Mimosoideae). It is most widely known by its former name,Albizia falcataria but it also has been called
A. moluccana and A. falcata. "Falcate' means "curved like a sickle," referring to its leaflets. Leaves
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USES: Falcataria is perhaps best known as a pulp crop (NAS 1979, Hu 1987). Other wood uses include fiber and particle board, packing cases, boxes, matches, chop sticks and light furniture. Wood is difficult to saw and not strong or durable.
Its thin crown provides partial shade to coffee, tea, and cacao. It also is used as a windbreak for bananas. Trials in Hawaii have indicated its usefulness as an intercrop with eucalyptus, especially in wetter areas. After four years, eucalyptus grown with falcataria in a 50:50 mixture at a spacing of 2 x 2 m were 58% taller and 55% larger in DBH than in pure eucalyptus stands (Schubert 1985). In other trials with 34 and 50% falcataria, total biomass was equal to or better than that of pure stands (Schubert et al 1988).
Falcataria also shows potential in alley farming. In a trial on acid soils (pH 4.2) in Indonesia, trees were managed in hedges 4 m apart and produced 2- 3 dry tons of green leaf manure/ha/yr. Application of falcataria green leaf manure doubled upland rice yields and more than quadrupled cowpea yields as compared to control plots (Evensen et al 1987). In 1988, however, concerns surfaced about the longevity of falcataria in alley cropping systems (Evensen, pers. comm.).
Falcataria also is grown as an ornamental, although it seldom lives more than 50 years (APCF 1987) and its brittle branches can be a problem in windy areas. Raharjo and Cheeke (1985)
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