Highlights

Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation along with Indian Navy had undertaken Aerial Seeding in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam. Aerial Seeding initiative is aimed to increase green cover in and around Visakhapatnam region.

The event was flagged off by MPs of Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and Commanding-in-Chief of the East Naval Command of Vishakhapatnam. Around 6.25 tonnes of seed balls were air dropped in 5 locations. The Naval helicopters air dropped a total of 50 thousand seed balls. The areas where the afforestation has been planned is inaccessible by road and thus aerial seeding is undertaken with the assistance of East Naval Command. Earlier Aerial Seeding was done in the Rajasthan’s Aravalli hills.

What is Aerial Seeding?

Aerial Seeding is a plantation technique where seed balls are sprayed using helicopters, drones or planes. The seed balls are dispersed with coating. This coating provides the desired weight for the seeds to airdrop in a predetermined location. The seeds sprout when it receives enough rain with nutrient present within them providing them the initial growth.

The aerial seeding rates should be 25 per cent to 50 per cent greater than drilled rates to achieve same stand. This increases seed cost. However, more acres can be seeded in less time when rains are to occur within 7 to 10 days.

Benefits of Aerial Seeding

The technique is best suited for steep slopes. It requires no attention after dispersing as they are already surrounded by nutrients, soil and microorganisms. The clay shell around the seeds also protects them from ants, birds and rats.

The aerial seeding also provides work opportunities to the local communities in preparation of seed balls. Seed balls consists of variety of different seeds that are rolled within a ball of clay. The additives included in seed ball are humus or compost. The additives are placed around the seed ball and at the centre to provide microbial inoculant.

Species used for Aerial Seeding

Only those species of plants that are native to the area are selected for aerial seeding. The seeds should be of larger size. Large-seeded legumes are better as they develop good seed to soil contact.

Aerial Seeding by Indian Navy Helicopters in Visakhapatnam Aerial Seeding by Indian Navy Helicopters in Visakhapatnam