With Seed Balls, Forestation In Odisha Sees A New Ray Of Hope

Bhubaneswar: In what could be tagged as one of the best initiatives to boost tree plantation drive in the State, officials of the Athagarh Forest Division have come up with a unique ‘seed-ball’ method, to enhance plantation of seedlings in a simple and effortless manner.

The move, jointly initiated by members of the Forest Conservation Committee and Athagarh Forest Division, solely aims to increase the count of trees in forests using scientific methods. This will also augment availability of food for elephants who keep veering towards nearby villages in search of food.

A packed mixture of fertile soil, wet sand and cow-dung is first made and shaped into a ball and then a bamboo seed is inserted into the ball to ensure proper germination of the seed. This is done in such a manner that the seed will not ooze out of the ball or get destroyed during strong wind and heavy rainfall. Once the balls with seeds are ready, they can be thrown to faraway and inaccessible places where the seed can take root.

The officials have evidence of the seeds developing into plants, thereby establishing that the method is a big accomplishment towards increasing the forest cover.

Athagarh DFO Sasmita Lenka stated that the new seed-ball technology has already been put into practice in Athagarh and Khuntuni Ranges and it will be implemented in 38 other reserved forests in the next phases.

On the other hand, the environmentalists also have asserted that this speed-ball technology will help in preserving varied species of fauna and flora in the forests. The other major aspect would be to curb the ever-rising elephant-human conflict in the particular forest division, they said.

The forest experts said that shortage of fodder in the forests is one of the major reasons the elephants venture into the human habitation. Therefore, with forestation the elephants would not be deprived of food and also it will improve the condition of the environment.