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Use of Drones in Planting Trees

  • Published
    16th Jun, 2022
Context

In a bid to increase the ‘green space’, a whopping 11 lakh seeds are set to be sown on the hillocks abutting the Rayalacheruvu tank, 20 km south of Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.

  • This initiative is with the aim of planting trees in the Dry areas in the region.
About

Key-highlights of the plan

  • 11 lakh seed balls are to be sprayed with the help of drones over the hillocks.
  • Need of the Initiative: The region near Tirupati has mostly shrub based plants which are prone to forest fires and easily dry-up during summers.
  • Varieties: This includes trees such as Neem, pongamia, custard apple, fig, teak, tamarind, gooseberry, palash, wood apple etc.

Drone Technology in Agriculture

  • Drones can help farmers;
    • To optimize the use of inputs (seed, fertilizers, water),
    • To react more quickly to threats (weeds, pests, fungi),
    • To save time crop scouting (validate treatment/actions taken), and
    • To improve variable-rate prescriptions in real time and estimate yield from a field.
  • Drones fly around 50 - 100m high which makes it possible use of it in Agriculture.

What is a Seed ball?

  • Seed ball is a seed wrapped in clay with some nutrients like coco peat, or moss.
  • It is a man-made method to spread colonies of trees and plants by broadcasting seeds after giving them protection of clay and an additional dose of nutrients.
  • In humid and conducive conditions, the seed balls sprout. They are dried before they are sprinkled. They are also known as seed bombs. 
  • Seed bombing is a farming technique of introducing vegetation to a land by throwing or dropping the seed balls.

Global practice

They are used extensively in the US, Thailand, Kenya and other African countries to grow plantation.

Benefits of Seed Ball:

  • Increase green space: They can work well anywhere in any season but the most productive season is the rainy season. Seed balls have an 80 per cent growth success rate compared to regular seedlings.
  • Effective for inaccessible places: They can be thrown in inaccessible places like hills, steep slopes, barren lands, watersheds, remote areas etc,. and help in reclaiming derelict ground.
  • Safe method: They remain healthy for years and are protected from wind, birds, squirrels and other critters.
  • Sustainable method: Seed-balls are affordable, sustainable and an effective conservation tool for establishing vegetation in difficult areas.
  • Increase Tourism: It will attract animal and bird watchers in the region and increase Tourism sector also.
  • Help to curb climate change: Over-heating of the planet needs more such initiatives in other regions which lacks in canopy and are still dry.
  • Provide ground for research and development: It can provide a ground to researchers of species and biodiversity and may help to know behaviour of endemic species of the region.
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