Itanagar: In a bid to boost the state’s forest cover, a pilot project on plantation using drone technology was launched at Doimara Reserve Forest area under Khellong Forest Division, Bhalukpong in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on the occasion of its 36th Statehood Day on Sunday (February 20) last, an official release said on Friday.
This is the first experimental phase of the project where 200 ha of degraded land under Doimara Reserve Forest will be planted using seedballs to be dropped from a drone called “Seedcopter”.
The project is undertaken by the Department of Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh in association with Marut Dronetech Pvt Ltd, a leading startup company in this technology. The project of drone-based plantation is a part of introduction of drone technology in the State under forestry sector.
It will continue for nearly 15 days during which two lakh seedballs will be planted over 200 ha area. The drone-based plantation is a new and innovative way of planting seeds in difficult terrains where reach is limited and slope gradient is high.
The technology includes creating seedballs from mixture of clay and manure having seed at the core of it. The seedball provides necessary moisture and nutrients required for germination of seeds. These seedballs dropped from drones at specific intervals reach the ground and germinate gradually after few days.
The seedballs are specially transported from Hyderabad for this project. However, in subsequent phases, it is planned to prepare them with the help of local communities and self-help groups which will also generate employment in local villages.
The Department of Environment, Forests & Climate Change has seen a shift under leadership of Minister (EF&CC) Mama Natung towards introduction of technology-based solutions to overcome the challenges faced due to the difficult terrain of Arunachal Pradesh.
The launch event took place under the guidance of PCCF and Principal Secretary (EF&CC) R K Singh and DFO (Bhalukpong) V K Jawal. “Success of drone-based technological intervention will further open avenues to introduce it in other sectors of forest operation to bring more efficiency in operations & monitoring,” the release said.