- Recently, the Haryana government has employed aerial seeding techniques to improve green cover in the Aravalli area of the state.
- The project is being carried out on a pilot basis to regenerate the low vegetation density or denuded areas on inaccessible or difficult sites of Aravalli and Shivalik hills.
Facts to Know for Prelims:
- The method involves spraying seed balls or seed pellets from the air using seeding drones.
- The species that will be planted through aerial seeding include Acacia senegal (Khairi), Ziziphus mauritiana (Beri), and Holarrhena spp (Inderjo),all of which have a higher chance of survival in these areas.
Back to basics
- Aerial Seeding is a plantation technique wherein seed balls — seeds covered with a mixture of clay, compost, char and other components — are sprayed using aerial devices, including planes, helicopters or drones.
- Seeds balls/pellets are dispersed in a targeted area by low-flying drones, with the coating providing the required weight for seeds to airdrop on a predetermined location rather than getting deterred by the wind.
- These pellets sprout when there is enough rain, with nutrients present within them helping in initial growth.
- Areas that are inaccessible, having steep slopes or no forest routes, can be targeted using this method.
- The process of the seed’s germination and growth is such that it requires no attention after it is dispersed and thus seed pellets are known as the “fire and forget” way of plantation.
- They eliminate any need for ploughing and do not need to be planted since they are already surrounded by soil, nutrients, and microorganisms. The clay shell also protects them from birds, ants and rats.
- The plant species which are native to the area and hardy, with seeds that are of an appropriate size for preparing seedballs are usually used for aerial seeding, with a higher survival percentage.