IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


4th May, 2023 Environment

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  • The suitable habitat for hijol to grow in the India-Bangladesh landscape may shrink by 50.5% because of rainfall and temperature changes, according to a study.


  • The water-loving evergreen tree, hijol,adapted to floodplains, has been traditionally managed over millennia as family and community forest in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin.
  • The primary vocation of the floodplain farmer is fish farming. The use of Barringtonia is intricately related to fish farming in Assam.
  • The branches of the trees are used in fisheries to check for predators as the network of branches provide hiding spaces for the fish during threats by predators.
  • Complex branches hinder illegal fishing by other fishermen as well. Additionally, the rough branch surface is conducive to grow algae.

About Hijol

  • Hijol or Indian oak (Barringtonia acutangula, family: Lecythidaceae) is a medium-sized evergreen tree, native to riverine Bangladesh.
  • The plant is propagated by seeds.
  • This evergreen tree is known as Dhatriphal in Sanskrit.


  • This water-loving tree is found in the wetlands of Bangladesh.
  • In rural areas, it can be seen standing in the water like Koronja.
  • The species is widely distributed to South and Southeast Asia and Australasia.
  • Barringtonia acutangula grows on banks of the river, edges of freshwater swamps and lagoons and seasonally-flooded lowland plains, where often it is the dominant species, from the sea level up to about 400 metres of altitude.


  • Leaves are short petioled, serrated, 7-12 cm long and 3-7 cm wide, crowded at the end of the branches.
  • Flowers are small, pink to red, sub-sessile, purple red with numerous stamens.
  • Flowers bloom in April-May.

Medicinal use

  • Its bark has tannin which is useful for heart diseases.
  • Powder of seeds works expectorant and applied to cure cough of children.
  • Tonic is prepared from leaves and roots.
  • Fish poison is also prepared from its roots.

Conservation status

  • Since the species is not in the International Union for Conservation of Nature assessment, their range is rapidly declining.
  • Floodplain systems are often misused as dumping grounds of municipal waste, setting up industries, conversion to agricultural land, etc., which has led to the demolishing of floodplains at an alarming rate.
  • In this context, floodplain Barringtonia forest management is crucial to sustaining the floodplain farmers’ livelihood.


Q) Discuss the significance of Hijol, a signature subcontinental floodplain tree, in fish farming in India. (150 words)