Eucalyptus exonerated

DOES eucalyptus harm soil? Environmentalists who say it does may be barking up the wrong tree, says a recent study.

A K Srivastav of the Silviculture and Forest Utilisation Division in Rajpipla, Gujarat, found no adverse effects on soil from eucalyptus, which is popularly believed to render soil unfit for agriculture (Indian Forester, Vol 119, No 3). Among the soil properties he studied were moisture content, water-retention capacity, and carbon, phosphorus and potash contents. He found eucalyptus plantations did not change any of these properties to the extent of rendering the soil infertile.