Viet Nam News
NINH THUẬN — The Núi Chúa National Park in the south-central province of Ninh Thuận uses seed balls to regenerate the forest in what is one of the country’s driest places.
The method involves using a mixture of clay and compost with seeds inside.
Located in Ninh Hải and Thuận Bắc districts, the park has a dry eco-system since the rains normally begin in September or October and end in December.
It only has a few small springs that virtually dry up in the dry season.
Trần Văn Tiếp, deputy director of the park management, said because of the harsh weather, regeneration of the forest is not easy.
The park’s mountainous terrain also causes difficulties in planting vegetation, he said.
Thus, before the rainy season, seed balls are thrown into areas identified for planting trees and the seeds inside germinate when there is rain. The seeds inside are protected from birds, ants and pests.
When the seeds germinate, the compost in the balls fertilise the seedlings.
The seed ball method requires low cost because it uses clay from the park, compost from animal waste and seeds collected from various trees in the forest, according to the management board.
More than 1,500 balls were made for the park’s officials, rangers, forest growers, and tourists to throw in the forest last year.
Officials and rangers often carry 10-20 balls and throw them into the forest when they patrol. Forest growers always carry two to five balls.
When visiting the park, tourists are given five to 10 for dropping in areas shown by their tour guide.
Tiếp said the areas where the balls had been dropped have seen a lot of young trees grow.
This year, the park staff would collect seeds from the park’s indigenous trees to make the balls, he said.
The park would study various trees that are resistant to drought and have high economic value to grow in the forest, its management board said.
The park spreads over an area of nearly 29,900ha, including about 22,500ha of land and approximate 7,400ha of water. It has 1,054 plant and 345 animal species.
There are various eco-tourism services inside, including marine and forest tourism and research and educational tourism. — VNS