C-FARM takes up forestry plantation in Cuttack Forest Division

Fly ash, residue of coal combustion, which is touted as a threat to environment, can help transform barren wasteland into lush green forests, said scientists here on Thursday.

Scientists and forest administrators are elated over findings of years-long experiments, which showed fly ash improved survival, growth and quality of plantation taken up in wasteland. They suggested fly ash should be used for forestry and development of degraded or wasteland — a solution to ever-increasing fly ash burden.

To build confidence in beneficial impact of fly ash on development and management of forestry, New Delhi-based Centre for Fly Ash Research and Management (C-FARM) had taken up forestry plantation in Odisha’s Cuttack Forest Division.

Under the programmes, about 300 hectare of forestland was planted with 30,000 trees (gap filling) at Kiajhara with plant species such as teak, acacia, karanj and shisham with fly ash up to 50 per cent pit volume. Nearly 75 hectare of forestland at Barabati was planted with 90,000 teak species by the State Forest Department during 2009 with scientific and technical guidance of C-FARM.

“Addition of fly ash in plantation pit improves survival rate from about 70 per cent (without fly ash) to more than 90 per cent (with fly ash). The growth and timber formation has been observed to increase by about 35 per cent in four years at plantation done with fly ash at Kiajhara under Tamka Range and at Barabati under Sukinda Range in Cuttack Forest Division,” say the findings.

Country’s foremost researcher on fly ash and former mission director Fly Ash Mission, Vimal Kumar said, “There is wide scope for use of fly ash as a nursery material for substituting soil and sand for nursery raising as well as for promotion of forestry plantation. Besides, application of fly ash would help reclamation of waste degraded forestland and enhance growth of tree species.”

Scientific findings say addition of fly ash in plantation pit improves plant survival vote