Within the tropics and sub tropics approximately half the plantation forestry is of "Eucalyptus" species. Their high growth rates and their ability to grow within a wide range of site conditions make them attractive species for both commercial and social forestry applications. The large scale planting of these exotic species has caused concern to local peoples in many tropical countries, not least in southern India, where the plantations were thought to have deleterious socio-economic effects at the village level and adverse environmental impacts particularly in relation to nutrient depletion and high water use. To investigate and quantify these environmental impacts a programme of field studies designed to measure the water use, nutrient uptake and growth rates of eucalypts was initiated in 1987 in the state of Karnataka, southern India. The collaborating organizations were, in India, the Karnataka Forest Department and Mysore Paper Mills and, more recently, the University of Agricultural Science, Bangalore and, in the UK, the Institute of Hydrology and the Oxford Forestry Institute. The studies were funded by the British Overseas Development Administration.
The results from these southern Indian studies and other studies on "Eucalyptus" species from other parts of the world were presented at the Bangalore Symposium. As a whole they present a body of knowledge on the growth and water relations of "Eucalyptus" species which will be of value not only for providing answers for the "Eucalyptus controversy" but also, through application of the various growth and water use models presented, for improving the management and water use efficiency of the plantations.