What is aerial seeding and how it is helping plantations across Aravalli—Explained

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Updated: July 30, 2020 2:12 PM

Haryana, on a pilot basis, is testing aerial seeding for plantations in hard-to-access Aravalli hills.

Aerial Seeding can be done with the help of drones, helicopters and planes.

The forest department of Haryana has taken up a new approach to plant seeds across Aravalli hills that are hard to access and makes plantation difficult. With aerial seeding, the Haryana forest department will cover the Aravalli region of the state on a pilot basis, according to a report by The Indian Express. Areas that are inaccessible or those where the process is cumbersome, aerial seeding will allow plantations there. This, however, is a pilot project and will further check the effectiveness of this technique as well as its dispersal mechanism.

It is to note that aerial seeding is a process where seed balls (seeds that are covered with clay, compost and char along with other components required for seed growth) are sprayed on the ground with aerial means. This can be done with the help of drones, helicopters and planes. Usually, the planes are low flying and disperse the seed balls across a targeted area. The mixture covering the seeds ensures that they don’t disperse with wind and fall on the area that has been selected. With rains and the soil mixture, these seeds grow.

Usually, this kind of technique, according to the report, proves to be beneficial, especially in the areas that have slopes and are inaccessible, fragmented or have no routes. Since conventional methods of plantation will not be applicable, aerial seeding is used. Furthermore, one of the advantages this kind of plantation has is that it requires no attention after seed balls are dispersed on the ground. One does not even need to plough and place the seeds in the soil as they are already surrounded by a mixture that will give them nutrients and will ensure that they are not eaten away by birds.

The only thing that needs to be taken care of with aerial seeding is that the species of seeds selected will have to be native to that area (as these have higher survival rates) and the correct timing for seeding, the report said. Citing Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Vinod Kumar, the report said that the forest department is not looking at replacing conventional methods but they are testing if aerial seeding can be adopted. However, this will require drones that are specifically designed to plant seeds, he added.

The method has been used in Yamunanagar and Mahendragarh region of the state, earlier this month. Now, the Aravalli region of Faridabad district is being covered, the report highlighted.

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