时间地点：2011年10月19日，印度班加罗尔J N Tata多功能礼堂
演讲题目：The Wood Legacy of Kallai: lessons for the future
摘要：The Malabar region of Kerala enjoyed a prominent place in international wood trade from time immemorial. The fertile river deltas and floristic richness of the Western Ghat make the region the land of innumerable tree species of economic and ecological significance. Among the timber trade centers in Malabar, Kallai, in Calicut, stood out as one of the pioneer and premier centers of wood trade that dates back beyond the era of the Zamorins. Kallai, once the "hub of timber market" in south Asia, dictated international timber prices for several decades. The period 1950-70 was the golden period of Kallai. Bountiful supply of good quality structural timbers such as teak, rose wood, and karimaruthu (Terminalia tomentosa) from private and government forests and cheaper transport through the Chaliyar river and heavy wood demand in the national and international market lead to the proliferation of saw mills during this time. It is reported that almost 150 large and small saw mills operated along the banks of Kallai river during this period.
Many factors contributed to the legacy of Kallai as an acclaimed wood trade centre. The demand for specific wood products such as long teakwood planks of specific sizes for the manufacture and repair of large country boats (used by the royal navy) was a major international influence. The teak wood from the nearby Nilambur had high demand in the international market owing to its golden brown colour, strength and durability. In addition, the wood for making railway sleepers in southern India was delivered through Kallai. Kallai was supplying wood raw materials for the packing case industry that flourished in Tamil Nadu and Andhrapradesh during the eighties. The glory of Kallai faded in the late 70‘s primarily on account of the acute dearth for wood raw materials. Enactment of Land Ceiling Act, vesting and assignment of private forests and increased governmental control on the felling of trees were some of the factors that lead to the shortage of quality timber trees. The scarcity of high quality timber species led to a shift towards the use of second quality timber species such as Terminalia bellerica (Thanni)- for small timber use in Tamil Nadu, mango- for plywood and packing case, ben teak for lorry body building, Artocarpus hirsutus (Anjili) for country boat construction etc.
The wood trade history of Calicut is best known for its royal and elegant country boats known as "Uru" constructed at Beypore, a small coastal town near Calicut. "Uru" built by the traditional shipbuilders known as Khalasis has a centuries old tradition. The uru made from Beypore had high demand in the Middle East and Europe for its exceptional design and stability. However, the Uru trade faced serious setbacks since the mid eighties. The acute scarcity of quality timbers such as teak, karimaruthu, rose wood (Dalbergia latifolia), and pali (Palaquium elipticum) was the major factor for this. Yet another reason was the non availability of wooden spares for the repair and maintenance of urus at the traded countries, primarily due to the stringent government policy on the export and import of wood. Despite this, there is now resurgence in uru manufacture primarily on account of its utility in the tourism sector. This article critically analyses the reasons for the rise and fall of Kallai as a premier wood trade centre and tries to draw lessons on diversification of wood products as well as enhancing the wood availability from areas outside conventional forests areas etc.
关键词：wood trade- structural timbers- uru (country boat)- Beypore- Kerala
Kunhamu, T.K, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University (PO), Thrissur – 680 656, Kerala, India