Nursery Establishment

 

Project: Establishment of a Nursery to Grow Local and Forest Plant Species

Motivation: In a world of extreme pressures on land and water, and particularly in a heavily populated and developing country like India, relocation of people in order to set aside a particular region for forest-cover is an unreasonable proposition. The best that can be done is to preserve the remaining patches of wilderness without robbing it of it’s pristinely nature. All is, however, not lost. The second best alternative is to coexist with the local flora (and fauna wherever possible), and develop a trusting relation with the natural world around us. This can be a rewarding experience, both practically and spiritually. This effort contributes to supporting bio-diversity in a new way, and sensitizing people to the beauty and fragility of nature and ecological balance. Local trees, in their turn, require minimum care but benefit the community by enriching soil and preventing erosion, causing rainfall and recharging ground water.

Specific Aims:

  1. 1.To create a good forest nursery that grows a substantial number of local species (both commercial and wild)

  2. 2.Use these to afforest regions in and around BCRT, and distribute seedlings to farmers at a nominal price.

  3. 3.Encourage farmers to grow trees by describing the economic advantages to the owner in addition to the beneficial effects it has on their land and the ecosystem itself.


 A Brief Description of the Project: This project predates the creation of BCRT and has always remained central to its activities. Working with the broad philosophy of coexistence described above, the motivation to create a good nursery came from an absence of one at an approachable distance. The forest department was too far away, required booking months in advance, and sold a limited number of saplings at prices that rendered large-scale purchasing unaffordable. The first phase, started in 2001, aimed at establishing conditions necessary for a successful nursery. This involved studying the necessary soil mixtures, watering requirements, methods of propagation, acquiring saplings, seeds, roots and stems. These latter items (over 6000 of them) were procured from BAIF (Bharat Agro-Industries Federation) and the forest department. The second phase focused on expanding the nursery within BCRT to make it self-reliant. Over 11000 saplings were grown and planted primarily within Anuganalu, with some distributed to schools and farmers. The farmers were gifted 10 local species for every hundred trees of commercial importance, like teak, silver oak and sandal that they bought. These were sold at a nominal price and have acted as a source of income to keep the activities of BCRT going. In 2003-04 over 1,25,000 seedlings were grown. Owing to constraints on water availability, some were nurtured at Krishi Vignana Kendra (Agricultural Research Institute) located in Kandali. In addition to planting them in select regions in Anuganalu, they were given in much larger numbers to farmers, schools, planted with the intention of attracting birds and used to cover much of barren, rocky land. Any tree around Anuganalu that was cut was replaced by over twenty saplings of the same species. The farmers in particular, were explained the advantages of growing trees alongside their regular crops both from practical and economic view-points, the importance of avoiding monoculture and enhancing bio-diversity.


Over the years BCRT nursery, in addition to increasing the numbers, has also lengthened the list of different species it grows. These include (and is not limited to), Teak (Tectona grandis), Albizzia Sp., Neem, Pongamia, Jackfruit (Artocarpus integrefolia), Mangium (Acacia mangium), Pipal Tree (Ficus religiosa), Fig (Ficus Sp.), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica), Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), Silver Oak (Grevelia robusta), Fire-of-the-Forest (Butea monosperma), Soapnut, Sesbania, Sandal (Santalum album), Raintree, etc. Planting eucalyptus is strongly discouraged, for it tends to destroy the local bio-diversity.

 

Figures: The volunteers at BCRT tend to the plants in the nursery (above). A view of the nursery. Seen in the background are several of the trees planted by BCRT within Anuganalu (right).

To learn more about our work with forest nurseries, click here.