Forestry as a sector plays a vital role in the socio-economic and rural development of a country apart from its role in maintaining ecological stability particularly in a developing country like India. Forests are a traditional source of a multitude of products particularly with regard to fuelwood, fodder, small and constructional timber and have sustained large masses of population. The vast potential of forests to generate employment especially in rural areas, thereby contributing to rural incomes and poverty alleviation has remained unutilized.
The country's forests are under tremendous pressure due to the indiscriminate removal of timber, fuelwood, fodder and other forest produce.
Though there are various afforestation and plantation programmes being implemented by the State Forest Departments, Forest based industries, NGOs, etc., availability of quality planting material well in time and in close proximity to areas where afforestation is to be taken up remains a major constraint in taking up large scale afforestation of wastelands, private lands, etc.
The National Forest Policy stipulates that one third geographic area of the country should be brought under forest/tree cover. It calls for increasing substantially the forest/tree cover in the country through massive afforestation and social forestry programmes, especially on all denuded, degraded and unproductive lands. It also emphasises on active participation of the communities is necessary for the success of any forest regeneration programme. Hence the need for nurseries to supply the required quality planting material is a important.
One of the way of fulfilling the requirement is promotion of decentralised nurseries through credit in the rural areas. This leads to easy and timely availability of planting material and in the process lead to creation of employment opportunities and income generation in the rural areas. These Forest nurseries will also be one of the means for active participation of the communities in future forest regeneration programmes.
The issues that are to be addressed include devising an incentive mechanism that would motivate village communities to participate on a sustained basis. Establishment of decentralised nurseries would also require credit support.
The decentralised nurseries can be established by farmers, SHGs, State Forest Development Corporations, forest based industries, NGOs, etc.
The nurseries should plan to produce healthy plants covering timber, fuel, fodder, fruits, non-wood forest produce and even ornamental species having good demand in the locality. Besides this the prevailing agro-climatic conditions in the area should also be taken into consideration while selecting the species.
An area of 0.25 ha. has been considered for a viable nursery wherein 1.25 lakh seedlings can be raised. The size of the nursery may be increased according to the borrowers category, capacity and demand for planting material. The nursery should be on a gently sloping land to ensure proper drainage. Site preparation will be done by ploughing and hoeing the land. Initially the nursery will be raised in mother beds and will be pricked out in polypots. It should have water as a perennial source to ensure adequate supply in hot weather and to reduce costs. The shape will be rectangular and would measure 100m x 25 m.
Ten seed polybeds would be raised of 10m x 1m i.e. 10 sq m. The number of polybeds required at this stage is at 1:12 ratio i.e. 12 polybeds for each of the primary/seed polybeds. The 1.25 lakh seedlings will be raised in a total of 120 polybeds (1000 seedlings per polybed) of which 1.20 lakh seedlings would be raised in polybags and remaining 5000 will be naked rooted seedlings.
The seedlings will be hardened in the nursery by reducing the water supply over a period of time and exposing them to sunlight over different durations. This would make them capable of facing adverse weather conditions once they are transplanted onto the field. The nurseries are temporary in nature and are of five year duration. During the summer months, shading may be provided by using polythene sheets or shading nets. Bamboo mats can also be used for providing shade. Protection measures may be taken like fencing the area with barbed wire.
Source : TNAU AGRITECH PORTAL
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