Tap tap!

By: Louk Vreeswijk

Nov 06 2016

Tags: , , ,

Category: Asia, India

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Aperture:f/3.5
Focal Length:29.2mm
ISO:160
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:DSC-R1

That is what you hear in the pine forest when the man who collects the resin from the trees fixes the cone back on the stem. Then he moves to the next tree, empties the cone, puts it back, tap tap, and he goes on to the next. The resin is used for making turpentine.

Pine tree resin, Almora, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India 2013

Pine tree resin, Almora, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India 2013

Pine tree resin collector, Almora, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India 2013

Pine tree resin collector, Almora, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India 2013

During the British time much of the indigenous Kumaon forest cover, with deodar, oak and rhododendron trees was cut down for commercial reasons and replaced by pine trees. Pine trees are not particularly good for the soil. The wood and resin may be of use, but during the dry season the pine needles fall on the ground, forming a thick layer that prevents the growth of grass and other plants. That is why villagers set fire to the needles before the monsoon comes in, so that their cattle will find something to eat again after the rains. Generally these fires are more or less contained. The lower, outer parts of the trunks may get black but not fully burnt and the trees don’t die. Unlike this year, when it got completely out of hand and large tracts of forest, including parts of deodar, oak and rhododendron reserves, went up in flames.

It is high time pine trees are made to leave the scene again and their place be taken back by the once indigenous trees of the Kumaon hills.

Photo of the week: Pine tree resin collection, Almora, Kumaon, Uttarakhand, India 2013

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