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Thursday, 29 November 2012

A year after the creation of the Pangthang Semi Hi-tech Nursery

Nursery malis prepare Bhadrasey seeds for plantation

Dechen Lachungpa
Under the JICA assisted Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project a semi hi-tech nursery was created at Pangthang last year. The nursery was created in order to propagate species of wild edible fruit plants that are found growing in forests areas of Sikkim. Certain species of wild edible fruits need care at the time of seedling stage. Species like oaks whose “natural regeneration” is nil has to be raised in the nursery and then transplanted. It is the policy of the Department of Forest Environment and Wildlife Management to have a well balanced forest comprising of 10% fodder species, 30% wild edible fruit species and rest locally available indigenous species. The Department encourages the public to plant trees in their private holdings for which these forest nurseries provide seedlings free of cost to the public for plantation in their private land.

Root trained seedlings in Panthang nursery
In this semi hi-tech nursery the seeds are directly dribbled in special pots called as root trainers. Growing of tree species in these root trainers is indeed a very scientific manner of propagation. The use of root-trainers reduces significantly the use of plastic polybags and moreover it can be re-used over a period of many years. Also, as shown in the photographs the roots of seedlings grown in these root-trainers become highly developed and well trained. Because of the hole at the bottom of the root-trainer, the roots automatically becomes air pruned, coiled and hence the soil is well bundled by the roots. At time of plantation the “ball of earth” that should necessarily be maintained for successful plantation is compact and well set in plants grown in root-trainers. Seedlings grown in root trainers can be planted during any season. Moreover the transportation of seedlings grown in these root-trainers is easier and it occupies less space in comparison to seedlings grown in poly bags. This type of propagation of seedlings is highly advantageous, there is efficient use of manure, soil and for water conservation (volume of soil and manure used in root trainers is far less than in polybags). The quantity and quality of seedlings produced in this small area of polyhouse is far higher that that of the seedlings raised outdoors. Also since the nursery is under cover the man power available in the nursery can be well utilized even at time of unfavourable conditions during monsoons.

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