Forest dept to take up seed ball dispersal in big afforestation drive

Forest dept to take up seed ball dispersal in big afforestation drive

Forest dept to take up seed ball dispersal in big afforestation drive

For the first time, the Forest department has decided to rope in citizens in a big way in afforestation to take up seed ball dispersal and sowing.

The seed ball campaign is not new to the state or to the department. In 1986-87, the department even used an aircraft to disperse seed balls said Punati Sreedhar, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, (Development).

“Over the years, we have learnt that instead of throwing them around and allowing nature to do its work, it is better to sow them. Under the Vanamahotsava and afforestation drive, we have decided to involve people. We will also conduct a study for the next three to four years to see how successful sowing seed balls is and how many have survived,” said Sreedhar.

Some forest officials point out that this method of plantation is good as it involves no expenditure . “Seeds are freely available everywhere. Seed balls are prepared with the naturally available soil and then sown. Citizens are involved in this task,” an official said.

The foresters term it as a win-win situation.

The Forest department has also tied up with all Jawahar Navodaya educational institutions in all districts to sow 28 lakh seed balls. This has also been made a part of the one crore saplings programme under the “Neerigagi Aranya” scheme.

Vital role
For the seed balls to germinate, the right soil and the right species need to be chosen. Tejus R, a conservationist, said that some over-enthusiastic volunteers don’t understand this. “Wildlife enthusiasts have dispersed varied species like mango, honge, jackfruit and jamun everywhere.

“People need to understand the terrain — dry deciduous, moist deciduous, arid and evergreen regions. They should also learn which species need to be sown on roadsides and in forest patches,” he said.
Sreedhar said that while in any species can be planted in  Western Ghats, but one has to choose wisely in other places.

Though native species are always welcome, one should ensure that they are apt. For example, in the Western Ghats, fruit-bearing species are welcome, but not neem. But in some north Karnataka regions, neem and ficus are preferred.

In BNP too
The seed ball campaign has been undertaken in Bannerghatta National Park (BNP) also.
The forest officials started the seed ball sowing in Turahalli, Jarakabande, BM Kaval, sandal reserves and minor forest patches.