Innovative Approaches for Plantation Forestry in Bangladesh

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We have developed a few innovative technologies to have successful Plantation in the country. In the first innovative technology we will be using Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and ectomycorrhizal fungi (for Dipterocarpus plants) in raising mycotrophic seedlings for better growth and survival under field conditions. Under the second innovation, microbial compost fertilizer composed of organic manure, a few beneficial soil microorganisms, natural fertilizers etc may be used in the nursery and in the field conditions. In the third innovation, seedlings will be transplanted in gunny bags placed in the plantation sites (whole) and that bags will contain Bio-organic fertilizers as well as Solid Organic Waste (may also be placed directly in the hole) and the last innovation will be to use a  very interesting and important technology on the introduction of mycotrophic green manure producing weeds that will be raised around the planted seedlings to facilitate nutrient cycling and water availability. The mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial soil microorganisms incorporated in the Bio-organic fertilizers in our innovative approaches will be playing a significant role in seedlings grown in the nursery and also help in increasing survival rate and better growth under field conditions to overcome the transplantation shocks in the field condition and also providing the supply of sufficient nutrients and increase the water availability for better growth of the plants under harsh environmental and soil conditions. An elaborate program and design of experiments will be developed whenever necessary in collaboration with the scientists from other field of research.

Background

The environmental problems and soil constraints can conceivably be alleviated through the afforestation program we are proposing for the country. Our honorable Prime Minister has given strong directives to grow more plants to restore the proper climatic conditions in the country and also the economy of the country.

Any successful plantation is fully dependent on the supply of healthy, diseases free vigorously growing planting material (seeds and seedlings) raised from the seeds collected from the genetically improved mother plants. The planting material must be grown in such a way that they may sustain the transplantation shock by maintaining the water relation and also getting the supply of proper nutrients after transplantation for successful growth and survival under field conditions. To overcome all these constraints, we are proposing a few innovative technologies that may be followed to have a good planting material and have a successful plantation. To execute the largest plantation program in the country every year, an elaborate program and design of experiments will be developed whenever necessary in collaboration with the scientists from all corners of the sciences.

Innovative approaches (technologies) for successful plantation

In the present research and development program through Plantation Forestry in Bangladesh, we followed a few innovative technologies for the production of seedlings under nursery conditions and their plantation in the field’s sites and also long-term intercultural operation for survival and the proper establishment of seedlings in the plantation sites. An elaborate program may be designed to fulfill the introduction of the proposed innovative technologies mentioned below and all sorts of research and development activities (like a collection of seeds, planting seeds, selection of growing substratum, nursing seedlings, use of different types of inoculants, optimizing conditions of growing seedlings, age of transplantation of seedlings, optimizing the amount of organic fertilizers, watering regimes, and many other intercultural operations etc) will be performed as and when necessary before implementation of the technologies. In all cases, seeds must be collected from genetically improved healthy mother plants (good seed sources) and they must be treated with chemical pesticides and/ or Nona-pesticides developed in the author's laboratory before planting in the growing media in the pots/ tray to save from the harmful pests (insects and organisms) and have vigorously grown seedlings for plantation in the field conditions. The activities of the proposed innovation may be performed in all Govt. and non-govt. nurseries and organizations in the country.

Innovation-1: Use of Mycorrhizal Fungi

More than 95 % of plants in the universe are mycotrophic. Mainly there are two different types of mycorrhizal fungi (Ecto. and Endo) that are very useful. Using Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) and ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF for Dipterocarpus plants) to grow seedlings in the nursery and in the plantation is a very useful and unique technology. Ectomycorrhizal fungi are useful in the case of growing plants under the Dipterocarpaceae family in the country. Mycorrhizae are highly evolved non-pathogenic symbiotic associations between the roots of most vascular plants and certain specialized soil fungi (Basidiomycetes, Ascomycetes, and Zygomycetes) that colonize the cortical tissues of roots during periods of active plant growth both in the natural environment and in cultivation. Mycorrhiza promotes the growth of host plants and increases productivity; improves water relations; protects roots from pathogenic fungi; saves from heavy metal toxicity; protect from adverse temperatures, pH, high salinity, toxic stress; reduce soil erosion; increases soil biological activities; influences the development of plant community; increase root development, root volume, and rooting percentage of plants propagated by cuttings and micropropagation in the nursery; enhance the survival rate of transplanted seedlings by reducing water stress. Extrametrical mycelia of AM fungi bind together sand grains (with Glomulin) in sandy soils and dunes for a successful plantation.

Under the first innovative approach, AMF and EMF will be used for raising mycotrophic seedlings of the selected plant species in the nursery in earthen pots / plastic pots/gunny bags etc. The inoculum may be developed by following the methodologies developed in Chittagong University (by the author), and mycorrhizal inoculum may also be purchased or collected from reputed inoculum production companies throughout the world. The experiments may also be designed to standardize the doses of inoculum and methods of application and also evaluate the efficacy of the inoculum in the mentioned laboratory.

Innovation-2: a) Use of Bio-organic fertilizers

Under the second innovation, we will be using the microbial compost fertilizer (along with AMF and EMF inoculum) which is composed of organic manure in the nursery and in the field conditions. Bio-organic fertilizers have (besides AMF and EMF) Trichoderma, as antagonistic microorganisms that reduce the growth, survival, or infections caused by pathogens and help in rapid decomposition of organic matter; micro-organism viz. Trichoderma sp., Aspergillus and Penicillium, can also cause in situ recycled for good quality compost; green manure crops, natural fertilizers and essential micronutrients and antimicrobial plants like Neem powder will help in the better growth of the plants.

The application of organic fertilizers improved structural stability and lower bulk density of the soil, improved moisture retention capacity, water infiltration rate, and hydraulic conductivity of the soil etc. All these positive activities of AMF, EMF and microbial fertilizers will help in the production of healthy seedlings for better performance in field conditions.

Organic manure for the bio-organic fertilizers may be prepared from a huge amount of cow dung and poultry manure available in many farms in the country not utilizing properly that will also solve a big problem of environmental pollution from the huge pile of cow dung and poultry manure. Solid organic waste from the municipality will be a big source of raw material for organic fertilizers in the country.

The seedlings will be developed both Govt. and non-govt. nurseries using both the innovations mentioned above to have a mycotrophic seedling which will have beneficial soils microorganisms associated with them that will overcome the transplantation shock of water shortage and also ensure nutrient availability in the field. Under dry field conditions especially in Char lands, the transplanted seedlings will be in a better condition to grow and survive to overcome the dry condition in the country following these technologies.

Innovation-2: b) Use of Bio-organic fertilizers in gunny bags

The objective of the third innovation will be to transplant seedlings in the plantation sites where the organic fertilizers will be kept in the gunny bags (environmentally friendly) earlier placed in the plantation sites (whole). The objective of using gunny bags is to keep organic matter in a right place. The mycotrophic seedlings raised in the nursery which has also beneficial soil microbial association with root systems will be kept in gunny bags (which contain Bio-organic fertilizers developed in the laboratory of the author) placed in the whole of plantation sites under field conditions. The microbial inoculated seedlings planted in the gunny bags (with organic matter) will be benefitted from the moisture content of the organic manures for long period and also will provide a congenial atmosphere for the beneficial microorganisms in assimilating the nutrients in the organic matter. In dry conditions, moisture availability is a major constrain to raise plantations in the country, which may be overcome by using organic fertilizers (Bio-organic) kept in the bags. The gunny bags with Bio-organic fertilizers may be covered with a layer of topsails over the bags during placing the bags on the whole. The seedlings may be planted after 7-10 days of placing the gunny bags in the whole, plantation sites. As organic matter usually retains moisture content for a long time in the soil so using bio-organic fertilizers in gummy bags will be an innovative technology for establishing a plantation in dry soils. Because of this technology, we will have a smaller number of irrigations under field conditions than the plantation raised without organic fertilizers.

One of our earlier research indicated that Solid Organic Waste (SOW) from the municipally may also directly be utilized by placing them in the plantation whole and covered them with a layer of soils for 2 weeks before planting the seedlings. In this technology, in one way we may utilize a large amount of SOW to mitigate the environmental pollution from the SOW that means it will be a technology of Waste to energy.

Innovation-3: Introduction of mycotrophic green manure weeds

Another innovation very interesting and important technology on the introduction of mycotrophic green manure producing weeds ( already identified by the author in the country), both legumes and nonlegumes plants, that will be raised around the planted seedlings to facilitate nutrient cycling and water availability throughout the year after years for survival and better growth of planted seedlings in the sites for successful plantation under harsh environmental and soil conditions in the country. The green manure-producing plants will be planted around the planted seedlings and when they will be in the green condition then they will be pulverizing in the soils for the reintroduction of nutrients and providing living inoculums for nutrient recycling for the seedlings. The processes may be repeated at and when necessary. This technology will reintroduce the nutrients and maintain the water relation between plants and soils throughout the year. The proper experiments may be performed to standardize the whole system.

Possible site of plantation

The seedlings raised following the above-mentioned innovative technologies may be used in all govt. and non-govt. nurseries and plantation sites and the seedlings may also be planted in the household of Urban areas, Roadsides, all types of Educational Institutes, Mosque premises, Public Parks, Railway roads, char lands, office premises and any other suitable sites or places to facilitate watering and easy aftercare of the plants. A large-scale plantation may also be developed in all areas to make Bangladesh a green zone. The aftercare of the planted seedlings may be performed by the owner of the house, students in the educational institutes, community people, office personals and others etc.

Conclusion

The mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial soil microorganisms incorporated in the Bioorganic fertilizers in our innovative approaches will be playing a significant role in seedlings grown in the nursery and also help in increasing survival rate and better growth under field conditions to overcome the transplantation shocks in the transplanted seedlings in the field condition and also providing a supply of sufficient nutrients and increase the water availability for better growth of the plants.

We have a well-equipped laboratory that may be used for developing microbial inoculum for a successful inoculation program. The morphological, physiological, biochemical, and microbiological studies will be performed in the laboratory for healthy, diseases free and vigorously growing seedlings for transplantation in the field.

The outcome of the Innovative Technologies

The introduction of the mentioned innovative technologies will bring a positive impact to make our country a Greener Zone by following plantation forestry. The proposed program will be providing social, communal, environmental, and economic benefits. It will also have a positive impact to mitigate the adverse effect of climate change, improving soil conditions and the overall economy of the country.

The author is former Professor, Department of Botany, University of Chittagong and former Vice-Chancellor, Pabna University of Science and Technology. Email: mridha52@gmail.com

  • Plantation
  • Plantation Forestry in Bangladesh
  • Innovative Approaches for Plantation Forestry in Bangladesh

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