Afforestation of Degraded Areas
This practice is employed when lands become uncultivable, such land may be bare or eroded lands, swampy areas, alkaline areas, amidst cultivation, sandy wastes, laterite, soils not suitable for cultivation. For each type of land the preparation methods and techniques vary. These operations are also called preliminary operations. In case of bare areas, which are flat without any tree vegetation or stones, etc. a mere ploughing and digging of pits is enough. Planting is done in the pits.
In eroded areas, the slopes should be eased out on the gully heads and trenches dug along the contours and when mounds are formed and planting done in the trench and on the mound. Gully plugging is carried out by masonry constructions or by brushwood. In the gullies, Agave, Bamboos, Grasses, Cassia siamea, Albizzia lebbek, etc. can be planted. The water sources in such eroded areas are retained by planting Vitex alttissima, Arundo donax etc.
For swampy areas the method is to drain off the water by digging trenches in the form of a herring bone, and species which come up in swamps should be planted. They are Lagerstroemia flostreginae, Eucalyptus, Bischoffla javarica, Salix tetrasperma, Eugenia jambolana, Terminalia tomentosa etc. For planting or sowing, ridges and mounds should be formed.
In alkaline soils also, trenches should be dug to drain off the salts and mounds or ridges formed on which sowing of seeds of Acacia arabica and Agave planting is carried out.
In sandy wastes the water retention is poor. Therefore, planting bricks is employed. These bricks are formed with a soil mixture of red earth, sand clay or silt. Seedlings are planted on the bricks and are then transported to the site where pits of 45 cm cube are dug up and brick plants planted.
Another commonly employed method is to plant seedlings raised in polythene bags.
The species preferred are Casuariana, Anacardium occidentale, Pongamia glabra. In addition, species which bind the soil and sand are planted and for this purpose Ipomea bioloba is recommended.
For lateritic soils the only method is to dig up pits and planting seedlings. Pits of 45 cm cube are formed and polythene bag plants of Cashew, Mahogany, Xylia xylocarpa, Neem and Ficus cuttings are planted. We have one or the other type of land in our entire village. If these are covered with vegetation and tree crops, the economy of the people will be enriched.