Saturday, September 12, 2009

Making Forest Plantations successful

(Trench –cum –Pit Method of Planting)

Trenches being dug in SaloniTanda Village (Mehboobnagar Division)

The forest department in our country has been entrusted with the task of raising plantations of various species suiting to local environment. Of late uncertainty over quantum and time of rainfall has affected the establishment of plantations to great extent in spite of adequate inputs to make these plantations successful. The situation is more severe in the parts of the Country which are having low rainfall less than 1000 mm. Moreover it is the pattern of rainfall (erratic or continuous ) which is responsible for making or mar the success of any plantations. The quantity and duration of rainfall are most critical factors for survival of plantations. In the recent past the changes in the pattern of rainfall mostly due to climatic changes has become one of the main challenging factors for plantations which are rain dependent unlike intensive plantations of horticulture and other species being raised with assured source of irrigation. This is not possible in the Forest areas mainly because of large extent of targeted area and some time due to lack of irrigation sources .

All these conditions have necessitated the need of exploring various alternatives of traditional planting methods.

The traditional method involves digging of pits usually of 30cm3 or 45 cum3 just before monsoon or after first shower followed by planting which has been the most common method in the department.

There has been attempts for exploring various non conventional methods of planting to tide over above uncertainties of rainfall and its affect on survival of plantations.. One of the main methods of such non conventional method of planting is trench- cum- pit method adopted by the department. This method involves digging of a trench preferably of 1met length, 50 cm width and 30 cm depth . The dug out soil is heaped towards lower side of the slope so to minimize the scope of it again filling the same trench . This is followed by digging the pit of conventional size (30cm3 or 45 cum3) in the center of this trench. The trench dug under this method facilitates the storage of water and thereby retaining moisture for a longer period which is helpful for a seedling to get established quickly. Basically this methods allows retention of rainfall (albeit meager and erratic )for longer duration to plants which is very critical in the drought prone districts of the State like Mehboobnagar, Nalgonda, Ananthpur etc. which are receiving erratic and meager rainfall and in such cases the retention of maximum rainfall is possible in this method.

In another modifications of this method trench of 1meter length, 1 meter width and 30 cm depth is dug and a pit of 30cm3 or 45 cum3 is again dug for planting seedlings. This methods of planting is started this year in some of the Forest Protection Committee ( locally called Vana Samrakshana Samithies ) in Hyderabad division under FDA (Forest Development Agency ) financially assisted by Government of India. The initial results of this intervention are encouraging and helped in retention of considerable moisture and also quick establishment of plantations.