‘Seed bombs’ expected to grow into a lush forest
Udaipur : In an innovative approach to increase the forest cover in the state, for the first time the forest department has used a specialised drone for dropping seed balls in the interior hilly area at Sarveni Ven falling under Salumber forest range of Udaipur district on Tuesday.
The initiative was a part of the pilot project jointly taken up by the Ministry of Forest and Environment, New Delhi and Rajasthan government where Udaipur has been chosen for experimenting the seed bombing technique. Some ten thousand seed balls containing seeds of indigenous varieties like Kher, Kuntha, Roz, Baheda etc were dropped from a height of 100 meters above the hills in an earmarked area of 5 hectare which has been protected by a four meter high boundary wall running into 900 meters length. A team of experts from Hyderabad conducted the trial. Experts would monitor the growth of the seed balls for a year and if the seeds survive to grow into a thick vegetation, the project would be extended to high altitude forests.
” Udaipur has been selected for the pilot project as there are hills more than 1500 meters high where plantation is really difficult. In an effort to replant forests that have suffered massive deforestation, we have experimented with the spray seed fields from the sky in a comparatively lower hilly area in the first phase” Deputy Conservator of Forest Ajay Chittora told Udaipur Kiran. The technique is also called aerieal reforestation and involves a drone dropping thousands of seed bombs.
The technique is called spray seeding or aerial reforestation, and involves a plane or drone dropping thousands of “seed bombs”. These seed bombs are balls of clay and earth packed with seeds inside. Effective coating of seeds with healthy growth catalysts like soil, cow dung, cow urine, compost etc, increases the success of seed germination. Once they hit the ground, the seeds sprout and over time grow into a beautiful and lush forest. This method is particularly ecological because a variety of seeds can be packed into a single ball, allowing scientists to identify which species naturally tend to grow in a specific area without human intervention.