Seed Balls: An Innovative Afforestation Technique

By Raju Maity (PRADAN)

दारे बाबुन बाग बोयहा…दारे देबुन बएचवा …दारे रेगी बोयहा जोतो मीनाक….

Meaning we won’t cut the trees, we will conserve forest, we all get life from the forest (song sung by community members while roaming into the forest)

Dumka, India, has over 7.86 percent of the forest cover of its total geographical area. But Dumka is threatened by natural calamities such as drought and increased temperature,  resulting in loss of livelihoods and out-migration. This blog talks about tribal land rights and seed balls, a novel initiative adopted to restore the forest area in Kathikund and Gopikander blocks.

The Kathikund Team from the Indian organization PRADAN (Professional Assistance for Development Action) is focused on helping to protect and enhance the green areas in forests. They do this by working with local communities who live in these forests and ensuring that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. This helps make sure that the forests are used in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, preserves the variety of plants and animals, and keeps the natural balance between FDST (Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribes) and OTFD (Other Traditional Forest Dwellers).

The Forest Right Act 2006 gives the right to ownership of land farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares to the primary resident who depend on the forests or forest lands for livelihood needs. It gives rights to claim by any member or community who has, for at least three generations (75 years) before the 13th day of December 2005, primarily resided in forest land for bonafide livelihood needs.

PRADAN Kathikund Team has been working jointly with local Governance bodies such as Gram Sabhas and Block Officials to provide the right to land ownership used by the tribals for gazing and livelihood generation. For the past two years, the team has been working hard provide Individual Forest Rights and Community Forest Rights to the resident and dependents of the community. This resulted in 70 Forest Right Committees being constituted in 70 Villages of Kathikund and Gopikander block. These committees are working towards conserving the forest area through a detailed Community Forest Right-Management Plan (CFRMP). Until now, 2 CFRMP planning and CFRMC constitution have been done in 8 villages, helping the community to understand the need for the forest and its conservation. The community is actively participating to gain their rights over the forest land and conserve the forest for effective use.

To restore and conserve the forests, about 18000 seed balls have been deployed in six Kathikund and Gopikander Block villages, containing seeds such as Saal, Kend, Mahua, Asan, Bhelwa, Jammun, Kathal, Mango, Imli, and Sharifa. These seeds have a germination rate of 70% and would help increase their livelihood by using their fruits, flowers, trunk, leaves, etc. The seeds are mixed with a paste of soil, Trichoderma, Neem Cake, and cow dung (min 7 days old). For preparation, all the mixture is rolled into the shape of a ball, and seeds are pressed in the middle of the ball, and the balls are then dried in the shade where no direct sunlight is coming. Once the balls are dried, they are ready for landing into forest land. These balls are handed over to the committee members, who, along with the community members and children, went to the nearest forest and deployed them in small pits in the forest land. Next, the community and the team have collaboratively planned to take up seed balls to another level, where 2 Lakhs seed balls will be sown in the forest area of Kathikund and Gopikander block.

No. of IFR applied to SDLC94135229
Total IFR Land applied to SDLC (acre)26.6919.8646.55
No. of IFR Titles received8454138
Total Area (acre) where IFR tiltle received22.995.2528.24
No. of Women who got  IFR titles71017
Total Area (acre) where womens got IFR tiltles1.840.82.64
No. of CFR applied to SDLC201434
Total CFR Land applied to SDLC (hectare)2853.88839.593693.47
No. of Villages where Seed Ball Prepared246
No. of Seed Ball Prepared37901325017040


Green Transformation  
India innovation GTP seed balls  
October 12, 2023  
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