Seedballs are a kind of method involving direct seeding by which the seeds get coated inside a ball made of clay or any other material. This includes biochar that is finally spread with the help of various methods. Seedballs are normally used for reforestation but they can prove to be of great help in improving pasture. In addition, it can also improve fallows, woodlots, windbreaks that will benefit the charcoal production of biochar and other occupations.
Teddy Kinyanjui is the mind behind the Kenya Seedballs and he has taken a great initiative to promote this method through captivating photos. Teddy is Dr. Maxwell Kinyanjui’s son who had invented the Jiko stove that is a popular fuel-efficient cooker. This stove successfully manages or reduces the need for fuelwood as well as deforestation and generates biochar. Teddy along with his sisters have now been taking the legacy of their father forward.
A large number of tourists are seen visiting the National Reserve of Masai Mara situated in Kenya. They will now get the unique chance of helping the reserve in the process of reforestation. The Group of Governors in safari camps are now collaborating with Kenya Seedballs in order to distribute them along the river Mara. These seed balls contain seeds from the olive tree of African origin. The tourists have the opportunity of throwing them from the hot-air balloons.
Issues With Seedballs
Environmental degradation is considered to be one of the major causes for deforestation along with repeated and prolonged droughts, and collection of fuelwood. Furthermore, the livestock grazing in the country is poorly managed which leads to a decrease in vegetation cover as well as soil erosion. All these issues might be some of the reasons behind the deforestation coupled with heavy rains and flooding that causes enormous erosion gullies. As a result of this, the topsoil easily erodes.
All these environmental problems finally have an adverse impact on the natural vegetation. We have also witnessed that the productive and fertile agricultural land cover gradually turns into dust bowls and dongas.
According to the study by the Environment Programme of the United Nations shows that the forest cover of Kenya has experienced a decrease from 10% in 1963 to almost 2.5% at the present moment. This decline in forest area is triggered by unsustainable forest use by the local people, bush fires, and overgrazing. Population growth and lack of resources have further aggravated deforestation.
Seedballs Presents A Solution
Kenyan deforestation is mainly caused by charcoal production. Due to this the government of Kenya has recently decided to ban charcoal sales. Even though this might appear to be a positive response, more than 80% of the people of Kenya use charcoal regularly due to heating and basic cooking. Hence, they must be provided with accessible and affordable alternatives or charcoal must be obtained from sustainable and legitimate sources.
Arbolos and Zai holes can act as one of the possible alternatives to charcoal and reduce charcoal production in Kenya and other parts of Africa. In case the government of Kenya subsidizes and legitimately obtains charcoal and wood in Arborloos and Zai holes, it will be of great help. In the meantime, the Kenyan people will certainly learn to adapt and illegally barter charcoal.
In an effort to disseminate seedballs, animals are being fed these seeds so they can spread them through their manure. Such a method may also prove to be very effective. Sesbania sesban is a fast-growing tree in Kenya and it can also act as a probable substitute in the drier regions. This species is extremely helpful and very easy to build fast-growing vegetation for reforestation, fallows, fuelwood production, nitrogen-fixation, and others.
All Image Credits: Kenya Seedball Company