Kolkata, Jul 08 : With an aim to boost green cover in parched areas of Bengal, the Forest Department has decided to conduct the State’s first pilot project for spreading seed balls on barren land.
The project would start during the State’s Van Mahotsav Week, beginning from July 14. Self-help groups (SHG), as well as students, would be spreading the seed balls on barren land. Two SHGs have been employed to make the balls, as of now around 40,000 balls have been made. The first project is coming up in the Kotsila Forest Range under Purulia Forest Division. Later the experiment would be extended to the Ayodhya Hills, also in Purulia district.
In dry areas, due to less availability of water, normal sapling plantations often fail. It is here that seed balls come into the picture. The charcoal powder will be mixed with soil and made into small balls. In each ball, there would be three seeds.Charcoal acts as compost. The clay keeps the seeds moist as they germinate, the compost nourishes them, and they grow, implanting themselves in the soil. This process is known as associated succession.
Seeds of sonajhuri, neem, jamul, tamarind, bael, dates, etc. are being used to make the balls. The department is confident that this technique will open up a new chapter in social forestry in Bangla. The seed ball sowing method is also considered to be more cost-effective. (UNI)