We have been actively engaged researching and implementing on very exciting and important projects for the past 6 months due to which we were unable to provide our monthly newsletter to you on time. The past months have been a period of growth for our organisation, SRT(SRT Thailand project) as well as taking forward with forest department a unique, effective and simple technique called ‘Saguna Vanasanvardhan Tantra (SVT)’.
Defination of Saguna Vansanvardhan Tantra (SVT):
It is a simple, low cost and effective technique which stops wildfires by converting the inflammable dry grass into organic manure and fixing of atmospheric carbon, promoting natural production of earthworms and soil aggregation, completely stopping soil erosion, there by initiating water infiltration, thus once again regenerating greenery and biodiversity on degraded lands.
Saguna Vanasanvardhan Tantra (SVT)
Recognising one of our core objective of ‘Carbon Sequestration’, SVT has been developed to prevent forest fire & regenerate degraded & barren mountains. The initial research on SVT was undertaken due to the fact that vast mountainous area surrounding Saguna Baug were barren and prone to forest fires every year. To prevent and regenerate this dangerous cycle, we have been conducting research on our owned hillock since 2014.
Last year in collaboration with Principle Chief Conservator of Forest, R&D(PCCF) Mr. Jeet Singh, Research Education and Training wing of Maharashtra forest department, a pilot project was started on three mountains in the Karjat taluka and one at Mannashakti, Lonawala. The positive results and advantages which were achieved on these mountains has led to keen interest and feedback in the State forest department from the Secretary Shri. Vikas Kharge to the grassroot level forest worker in Karjat, Mr. Tukaram. Also, Dr. Afroz Ahmed one of the leading environmental scientist and planner in India visited and was impressed by our SVT and SRT work. Similarly, some motivated NGOs are also conducting SVT trials near their surrounding areas under our guidance and encouragement. During Monsoon 2018, we have undertaken a bigger task & expecting astonishing findings.
The excitement at all these levels is due to following reasons:
- It is a very low cost & effective, requires less manpower, easy and sustainable way of stopping forest fire.
- Rather than burning a million tons of organic biomass in the forests and mountains, it can be possible to convert in situ. Due to this, relating to global ecosystem a large amount of “carbon fixation” can be achieved.
- Biodiversity in the forest area can be saved as the dying & destruction of lifecycle of birds, rodents, reptiles and microorganism can be avoided. Similarly, destruction of their habitats due to high temperature caused by wildfires can be stopped. It will also evade the risk of injury to life of forest guards and volunteers when extinguishing these fires.
- Due to this technique the earthworm activities increases; soil aggregation occurs which then stops soil erosion and increases water infiltration due to which the mountains and forest can enriched with large water reservoir.
- Regeneration of the degraded mountains can be achieved quickly and they can once again become place of healthy biodiversity and source of income.
The Technique :
The technique involves a set of three practices to achieve our objectives as follows:
- To protect forest land from wildfire by using weed killer :
Using general purpose weedicide i.e Glyphosate on green grass in the month of September-October to make vertical and horizontal sections of the mountains. Thus the grass which otherwise would have dried and become inflammable material turns into non inflammable organic manure. This adds considerable amount of organic carbon to the soil. It promotes earthworm’s growth which makes soil porous. This is a perfect situation which increases water infiltration of the soil rather than water runoff.
- Live fence and Live contour bunding :
To protect forest area from poachers and stray cattle a live fence is provided at the bottom of mountain. The live fence is of thorny plants/bushes such as Cactus (Opuntia species), Agave (Agave americana), Karvanda (Carissa congesta) and Wild date palm (Phoenix sylvestris). After long R&D we confirmed following suitable species for live contour bunding. Such plants are resistent to forest fire, drought conditions and stray animals. These plants are 1) Nirgudi (Vitex negundo), 2) Karvanda (Carissa congesta), 3) Cliff banana (Enset superbum), 4) Khus grass (Vetiver Zizanoides), 5) Agave (Agave americana), 6) Wild date palm (Phoenix sylvestris).
- Use of 3 layer plastic cover (SVT-Sleeve)
To enhance growth of plants, protection from stray cattle & protection from hot-dry summer winds we have come up with a three layer plastic cover, the SVT-Sleeve. Inner and outer layer have anti-fogging property which enables collecting and trickling of the due drops to the root zone of the sapling. And the middle layer being UV resistant prevents scorching of the plant and allowing smooth photosynthesis. The sleeves have demonstrated survival of plants to the tune of 80%.
We are financially supported by Rama Purushottam Foundation, Pune for the work.
With warm regards,
Founder and Managing Trustee,
Saguna Rice Technique (SRT) and Saguna Rural Foundation (SRF)