We have developed a few innovative technologies to have successful plantation in the country. In the first innovative technology, we shall 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 et cetera 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 (hole) 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 micro organisms 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 programme and design of experiments will be developed whenever necessary in collaboration with scientists from other fields of research.
Background: The environmental problems and soil constraints can conceivably be alleviated through the afforestation programme that we are proposing for the country. Our honourable 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.
Innovative approaches (technologies) for successful plantation:
In the present research and development programme 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 programme may be designed to fulfil the introduction of the proposed innovative technologies mentioned below and all sorts of research and development activities (like collection of seeds, planting seeds, selection of growing substratum, nursing seedlings, use of different types of inoculants, optimising conditions of growing seedlings, age of transplantation of seedlings, optimising the amount of organic fertilizers, watering regimes, and many other intercultural operations et cetera) 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 government and non-government nurseries and organisations 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 specialised soil fungi (Basidiomycetes, Ascomycetes, and Zygomycetes) that colonise the cortical tissues of roots during periods of active plant growth both in 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; protects 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 micro-propagation in the nursery; enhances survival rate of transplanted seedlings by reducing water stress.
Innovation- 2: a) Use of Bio-organic fertilizers
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 et cetera. 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 utilising 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 in both government and non-government 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.
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 hole of plantation sites under field conditions. The microbial inoculated seedlings planted in the gunny bags (with organic matter) will be benefited from the moisture content of the organic manures for long period and also will provide a congenial atmosphere for the beneficial micro-organisms in assimilating the nutrients in the organic matter.
Innovation- 3: Introduction of mycotrophic green manure weeds
Another innovation very interesting and important technology on the introduction of mycotrophic green manure producing weeds, both legumes and non-legumes 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.
Possible site of plantation:
The seedlings raised following the above-mentioned innovative technologies may be used in all government and non-government 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 et cetera.
Conclusion: The mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial soil micro-organisms 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 programme. 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 programme 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 writer is a former professor at the Department of Botany, University of Chittagong, also a former vice-chancellor of Pabna
University of Science and Technology.
E-mail: [email protected]