Chamarajanagara, Karnataka, Sept 8 : In an attempt to increase the greenery and improve the degraded ecosystem in Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, the Forest department has completed seeds sowing of varieties of grass, including bamboo.
This as an effort to reclaim the habitat from Lantana and Epatorium weeds that have proliferated across Bandipur and cover almost 60 per cent of the Park.
Conservator of Forests T Balachandra said that almost 10 tonnes of different species of grass and bamboo have been planted and the sowing operation concluded on Saturday. “We have covered nearly 3,000 acres of forest mainly in the Himavad Gopalswamy Betta range and have placed indent for an additional 10 tonnes of seeds from the Forest Department nurseries.”
The range was also among the worst affected during this year’s forest fires that devastated nearly 4,000 hectares. Balachandra said the fire engulfed the hillocks but the sowing took place in the plains below in the range where there was cope for growth of vegetation.
The exercise commenced in May with the onset of the pre-monsoon rain. The soil received adequate moisture and the ground was soggy enough to take up sowing. “Pre-monsoon and rainy season is the best time to take up sowing. Even if a small portion of the seeds sowed take root and flower, it would add to forest rejuvenation,” he added.
Balachandra said seed sowing will be an ongoing exercise to ensure that the forest was rejuvenated and the fodder availability for herbivores increased. The plan is to collect about 10 to 15 kg of seeds of the indigenous variety of grasses and sow them in the range. The exercise was conducted by the department staff as an earlier campaign to start a seed-ball sowing drive was shot down by the authorities as it entailed the risk of non-indigenous species being planted and turning into invasive weeds he added.