[permaculture] Restoration projects - Worldwide - On Seedballs
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Tue May 31 23:22:40 EDT 2011
Restoration projects - Worldwide - On Seedballs
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Restoration projects - Worldwide
Masanobu Fukuoka traveled the world with seedballs. Many sprouts.
This is probably the most important page of this website. It shows
people around the world applying Masanobu Fukuoka's seedballs in
ecological restoration projects. Gathering information is a matter of
time and serendipity.
1 The world of Seedballs
2.1.1 The RainMaker project
3.2 United States
3.2.1 Hawaii- Leeward Haleakala¯ Watershed Restoration
4 AMERICA - SOUTH
5.2.1 Prachuap Khiri Khan - Kuibiri forest
6.1 - Greenbelt Southern Europe presents the "Greenbelt for
Southern Europe" initiative.
6.2.1 The Natural Farming Center
6.3.1 Sierra de Parayas restoration project, Cantabria
7.1.1 The Nari-Nari tribal council restoration project, New
7.1.2 The Upper Torrens Land Management Project, South
7.1.3 Greening Australia-Lower Cotter Catchment Project, ACT
7.2.1 Restoration using Akeake seedballs in Marlborough Sounds
The world of Seedballs
View Seedballs worldwide projects in a larger map
Greening The Desert: Applying natural farming techniques in Africa.
An interview with Masanobu Fukuoka, by Robert and Diane Gilman, in
Sustainable Habitat (In Context #14), Autumn 1986, Page 37.
The RainMaker project
Afforestation using seed-enclosing clay balls in Kenya a Japanese
NGO, the Yokohama Art Project by Enokida Riyuu'
Makuhamia Lutea, S
A total of 22kg of seeds were use for the project mix.
RainmakerProject ver2.0 SATOYAMA SYSTEM
RainmakerProject ver. 1.0
The Rainmaker Project[破]
The Rainmaker Project 2 [破]
Hawaii- Leeward Haleakala¯ Watershed Restoration Partnership
"The Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership (LHWRP)
was formed in June, 2003, and consists of 43,175 acres owned by two
State agencies, one Federal agency, and eight private landowners.
Non-land owning partners include the U.S. Geological Survey and Living
Indigenous Forest Ecosystems (LIFE)."
In her now famous book “The Polynesian Family System in Ka-’u,
Hawai’i”, noted Hawaiian scholar Mary Kawena Pukui illustrated the
original Hawaiian concept of forest types that scalloped the mountain
slope from the coast where most people had their habitations through the
various forest types to the high mountain summit above treeline. As we
do now, early Polynesian settlers utilized mountain areas as a source
for their water, both for human use and agriculture. They harvested
mountain plants and animals for food, utilitarian items such as cordage
and barkcloth, for ornamental, ceremonial, and spiritual items such bird
feathers for featherwork, some of which are among the finest ever
produced by humans. Mountains were also the source of valuable
hardwoods, such as koa. Koa (...) trees are a Hawaiian endemic species
without near relatives in the central and eastern Pacific. Amazingly,
the nearest relatives of koa occur in Australia and the Mascarene
Islands (A. heterophylla Willd.) in the Indian Ocean (...). To settling
Hawaiians, the high islands of the Hawaiian Archipelago must have
appeared as the ultimate gift from their ‘akua (Gods). Of all the gifts
that awaited them, fresh water, large flightless birds for immediate
food, brightly colored red, yellow, and green birds, and thick, verdant
forests, massive koa trees up to 35 m (115 feet) tall were among the
most significant. From these koa, Hawaiians continued the ocean
navigating tradition of their ancestors, hewing massive wa’a (canoe)
from koa logs dragged off high mountain slopes. Though once large
abandoned, the sport of outrigger canoe racing has resurged and occupies
an important and characteristic part of Hawaiian culture now practiced
throughout the world. Though modern canoes are predominantly made of
fiberglass, fittingly, the State Championship rules of the Hawaiian
Canoe Racing Association (HCRA) dictate that all participating canoes
must be constructed of koa.
Hawaiians could have scarcely fathomed that within the next 1500
years that these forests, at least on the leeward sides of the high
mountains like Haleakala¯, would become so degraded that many of our
modern world would have no idea that they had ever been there at all.
That not only would the great trees be gone but in most areas every
other species of understory shrubs, ferns, and mosses as well. With them
the birds, from the largest of geese to the smallest of sweet-singing
songbirds would also disappear.
It is estimated that on leeward Haleakala¯, less than 5% of these
forests, and these in tatters, with European and African grasses
flooding their now well lit understory. In some areas, not only are the
great trees gone, but this loss of once thick cloud forests has
triggered the loss of 5-8 feet of tall soil, leaf litter and forest
duff. It was these areas of south Haleakala¯ such as Nu’u and Na¯kula
where barren, red soil ridges devoid of nearly all vegetation that
former State of Hawai’i head forester Michael Buck called the State’s
“biggest embarrassment”. That would be the case if that were the end of
the history of this region."
- Excerpt of Leeward Haleakala¯ Watershed Restoration Partnership
Photo: One of the last remnant patches of the native hardwood koa
(Acacia koa) remaining in the southeastern corner of the Leeward
Haleakala¯ Watershed Restoration Partnership (LHWRP) in the Nu’u
District, now part of Haleakala¯ National Park (A.C. Medeiros photo).
As read on the Leeward Haleakala¯ Watershed Restoration Partnership
Management Plan,under Phase One Action Plan 2006-2010, Objective 3,
Develop Koa restoration technology:
"(The field crew) will build six small exclosures to exclude
ungulates in order to conduct experimental trials to develop restoration
methodology evaluating the use of clay (seedballs) compared to
recommended stocking level planting and controls."
When I asked A.C Medeiros, (Haleakala Field Station (HFS) of the
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)/Biological Resources Division
(BRD)/Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center (PIERC) program field
leader; specialist in Hawaiian natural history; currently in Ph.D.
program with Department of Botany, University of Hawaii) if he had any
feedback on the efficacy of seedballs in Koa's restoration he answered
wisely: 'not yet...'
Meanwhile you can read contiguous project progress reports, in
Biology: Status and Trends of Biological Resources Program. Dry Forest
Restoration on Leeward East Maui
AMERICA - SOUTH
Prachuap Khiri Khan - Kuibiri forest
Teachers and students of a local technical college have joined
hands molding seeds into balls to be air-dispensed, in order to
rejuvenate the forest of the Kuiburi district. Prachuap Khiri Khan
Prachuap Khiri Khan Technical College students and teachers have
mixed several types of seeds with dirt and molded them into balls in
order for them to be dispensed through the air. A total of 99,999 balls,
each of which contained 3 seeds, have been molded.
The activity is under the Electricity Generating Authority of
Thailand (EGAT)’s campaign to plant trees in honor of HM the King. One
million trees are targeted to be planted in Prachuab Khiri Khan
Province. According to the provincial governor, the Air Force 5 will
dispense one million seed-balls containing 19 species of plant that have
been molded by the students and teachers. The activity is to conserve
the plants and animal species and revive the greenery at the Kuiburi
district’s forest, in line with HM the King’s initiatives and concerns
for the nature and forest.
- Greenbelt Southern Europe presents the "Greenbelt for Southern
Masanobu Fukuoka in Arnissa, Greece, 1998.
Follow Masanobu Fukuoka on his 1998 visit to Arnissa in Greece,
where he inspires locals young and old in an effort to sow seedballs
across 10,000 hectares of rocky Grecian countryside.
The Natural Farming Center
Over the past seventeen years, beginning in 1993, the
Natural Farming Center, made and broadcasted seedballs with the intent
to re-plant trees and gardens on some bare mountains of Greece and the
Mediterranean countries in general. Masanobu Fukuoka vision was to
create a green belt from Portugal to Iraq, Iran, to stop the expansion
of deserts in Central Europe. The Natural Farming Center started with a
small plantation on an area of 5-10 acres with a positive result, and in
1998 - in the presence of Fukuoka – they organized the largest ever
seedballs project conducted on Earth propagating them on more than 5000
hectares. Despite limited success (due to many factors such as
overgrazing by cattle shoots, weather conditions, etc.), they have
proved that this method can be applied broadly and has a very small cost
- around 200-300 euros per hectare, including the cost of seeds, clay
and food for volunteers (versus 100 000 for ‘conventional’ methods used
in ecological restoration).
They have continued to organize seedballs propagation on
hundreds of acres every year since then, always working on a voluntary
basis, improving over the years, the quality of the seedballs and adding
new material, so that they could get better results.
How and what
Until 2004, they propagated round seedballs of different
sizes, using their manufacture powder clay, water spray and mixer: with
very good results when it comes to annuals, and the less good - if it
was a forests and fruit trees. So, in 2005, they experienced another
kind of ‘seedballs’, sliding sausages of clay and seeds, and then
slicing them into thick disks - see the relevant photos and video - and
now, after five years of cultivation in Greece, Europe and South
America, they are confident to say that this type of clay disks actually
gives excellent results. They have also added to the mixture of cotton
fillers (with short fibers), straw, peat, and most recently - coconut
Short-fibered cotton is good stuff, if you can get them
easily, but once they got a problem with transgenic cotton and also
cotton the fine cotton dust, so they gave-up using it altogether. Straw
is beautiful, but one should be used with care because it can cause
mold. To prevent the development of mold inside the clay caps and,
therefore, damage to the seeds, they dry the clay capsules in the hot
sun, and for this reason, they prepare them in August or September
(mid-to end summer in Greece.
Coconut fibers (copra), in their opinion, is a great
material, for they have helped forming very strong clay disks that do
not break when cast on the hard soil even if they thrown from planes and
helicopters. They remain intact for several months after propagation.
The Natural Farming Center also uses Geolayt (geolite), a
natural mineral that can absorb twice its weight in water, during wet
weather and offer it to germinating plants.
They reckon that adding small amounts of organic material
that may inoculate, beneficial micro-organisms and fungi native from the
propagation are is also very important. Their seed mixes, is generally
composed of vegetable seeds, grains, legumes (green manure), plants,
fruit trees and forest trees.
Seedballs propagation time is from September to late
October in southern Greece and September in northern Greece, always up
to the beginning of the rainy season.
Until now, scientists and research institutions were
generally negatively disposed toward this method, always under the
pretext that they are introducing in the environment exotic species,
which is not the case. They viewed seedballs as a child's game. But this
year, the National Forest Research Institute in Athens has decided to
test this method on an experimental basis for three consecutive years,
and if results are positive, they will offer it as a valid method for
This is a positive step, but the Natural Farming Center
feels that it will take a long time before they introduce it into
practice, and at that time nature destroy rapidly. The Natural Farming
Center believes that we, ordinary people, must act as soon as possible.
They travel all over the world, organizing seminars on seedballs to
create natural farms, gardens with simultaneous production of vegetables
on the basis of self-maintenance and renewal, re-greening deserts. They
always work on a voluntary basis, and share information without
involving money, because they believe: we have everything for free from
life and everyone should give it to others for free.
The Near Future
Small groups in Greece, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Chile,
Uruguay, Peru and other countries propagate seedballs, working in an
attempt to restore the forest, and in March 2011, the Natural Farming
Center intend to carry out simultaneous actions in Argentina, Chile,
Uruguay, proving in this way, that the heart moves things, not money.
“Let us, each and all together we will take part in the work of
God. Let us turn the land into a green paradise” - Masanobu Fukuoka
Panaiotis (Panos) Manikis speaking
Center for Natural Agriculture
(Natural Farming Center)
e-mail: info at naturalfarming.eu
Natural farming in Greece
Seed pellets to save Mt Pendeli
Forest fire damage near Anthousa to be remedied with Manasobu
Fukuoka's Natural Farming method, by Yvette Varvaressou - Kathimerini.
Making hay with clay
Hands On - A Growing Trend, Earth Report, by TVE (the
Television Trust for the Environment).
Sierra de Parayas restoration project, Cantabria
RIA-Realización de Iniciativas Alternativas is a nonprofit
association based in the town of Camargo (South Bay of Santander),
Cantabria, and whose principal objective is to conserve and restore the
coastal environment, understanding the environment and the people in it:
society, culture, heritage and nature.
They work in the
Monte Sierra de Parayas.
In November 2009 they planted over 1,500 oak acorns using ‘nendo
dango’ or seedballs, interestingly rolled in grasses seeds (see video).
Bushcare WA 37842 Seedball Kickoff! O’Connor $8,295.
The Nari-Nari tribal council restoration project, New South Wales.
(Please Note: Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island peoples are
advised that this web site may contain images of deceased persons.)
The Nari Nari Tribal Council is a not-for-profit Aboriginal
organisation, committed to the preservation and protection of Culture
and Country. They manage 11,300 hectares of Riverine land 35km west of
Toogimbie Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) was declared in March
2004 and covers around 4,600 hectares of the northern portion of Nari
IPA funded activities include improving wetland inundation,
replanting vegetation, and controlling weeds and feral animals like
foxes, rabbits and pigs. Areas that have been fenced to keep stock and
feral animals out are showing improvements in the level of cover and in
environmental health. The Tribal Council aims to continue timber
harvesting using sustainable methods, for community use. The location
and details of important cultural sites are also being recorded. These
sites are being protected by removing stock from the area, controlling
visitor access and revegetating the sites to repair the feral animal damage.
Overall revegetation works are another major IPA activity. In
2005 alone, 2.5 kilograms of local seed was collected, 8,500 seedlings
were planted, 8,000 clay seedballs distributed and 4,000 plants
propagated. The Tribal Council has also erected bird hides in the
wetlands, and constructed a bush tucker garden to improve community
access to native foods and medicinal plants.
"The seed balls proved to be great success"."The outcome of the
trial proved with enough moisture the clay seed balls will be
successful". (personal communication).
Ian Woods - Chairman
Tara Dixon - Secretary
PO Box 75,
Hay, NSW, 2711
Ph: 02 6993 2243
Fax: 02 6993 2290
narinari at bigpond.net.au
The Upper Torrens Land Management Project, South Australia.
Since their inception in 1998, over 150 landowners have
participated to improve their properties and income. The Upper Torrens
Land Management Project (UTPLMP)has assisted them to address issues such
as: soil erosion, salinity and acidity, pasture establishment and/or
improvement, fencing for dams and watercourses, re-vegetation with
native trees and shrubs, protection of native flora and fauna, creation
of habitat for birds and native animals, and the maintenance of creeks
and watercourses. Properties have varied in size from 1Ha to 1000 Ha,
and issues addressed include stock exclusion fencing for watercourses,
weed control, pest animal control, woody weed removal and re-vegetation
with native species.
In 2000, the UTPLMP use seedballs in a trial.
Stephen Anderson, who covers the revegetation
program of the Upper Torrens Land Management Project recalls that
"Between 1997 and 1999, the Upper River Torrens Landcare Group made and
tested seed balls on its demonstration sites. A variety of seed types
were used and the balls were scattered over the ground (prepared with
knockdown herbicide) and left to their own devices. Given the very
light, sandy soils and late spring germination of weeds, it would seem
likely that seedlings were outcompeted if they germinated at all. No-one
recorded germination or survival results attributable to the trial. No
further attempts were made as reasonable success was achieved using the
standard methodology for had direct seeding in similar environment".
ABC website story
Upper Torrens Land Management Project
Mount Pleasant Natural Resource Centre
132 Melrose Street
Mount Pleasant SA 5235
Telephone: (08) 8568 1876
Facsimile: (08) 8568 2699
Greening Australia-Lower Cotter Catchment Project, ACT
Greening Australia (GA) mission is 'to engage the community in
vegetation management to protect and restore the health, diversity and
productivity of our unique Australian landscapes'.
'With a network of over 350 staff in locations across the
continent, Greening Australia lives and works with people from remote,
regional and metropolitan communities'.
"On Sunday 5 April, 2009 community volunteers joined ABC
Canberra, the ACT Government and Greening Australia in making 12,500
clay balls embedded with native seeds. The volunteers then distributed
the clay balls over 14.5 hectares of former pine plantation in the
Pierces Creek area to continue the rehabilitation of the Lower Cotter
"We have been monitoring the success of the seedballs, but at
stage haven't produced a formal report on the outcomes. In general we
have found that slightly less than 50% have successfully germinated, and
that grass species have been much more successful than either tree or
shrub species. We have currently scaled back our seedballing efforts and
will begin a new smaller scale scientific trial of the seedballs in an
attempt to increase tree and shrub success. If our monitoring team does
produce a report on the seedballing, I will pass this on to you"
Graham Fifield confirmed on August 18th 2010 that GA is 'very
much in the experimental phase at the moment. After initial difficulty
settling on the ingredients for the balls, [GA is]about to embark on a
monitored trial (hence different colours). They will be planted in the
next 1-2 months.
See GA document : Introducing … Seed Balling : Another
Greening Australia Capital Region
Lower Cotter Catchment Project Officer
Greening Australia Capital Region
Kubura Place Aranda ACT
PO Box 538 Jamison Centre ACT 2614
Restoration using Akeake seedballs in Marlborough Sounds
Andrew Mac Mahon is a self employed weed and pest control
expert living in New-Zealand. This is what Andrew told me when I asked
him questions "on seedballs" :
"Seed balls were something I experimented making with my own
boys (ages 4 and 7) help. We used a simple recipe from the Kiwi
Conservation Club kids magazine(and I looked up other sites on Internet)
= seeds, compost/worm
castings and clay. The clay was sourced from a bank in a local
stream - nothing fancy, just grey/brown clay.
In NZ we have a first generation regrowth plant called gorse.
It's everywhere waste land is. Native will given time (15-25 years) out
grow gorse and it makes a good nursery plant. If I was to restore gorse
waste land seedball would work well but the slips needed ground cover
before the weeds grow.
The bare land left by the slips was letting lots of light to
the native bush. [Also], weeds such as Old Man's Beard and Banana
Passionfruit and wilding pines like high light conditions.
The race was on to plant native plants to close this light
before weeds took hold. I planted root trainers (small native plants
30cm high with a good root system $3 nz each, $500 worth) to get a good
head start on the weeds. The seedballs was an after thought or experiment.
I only used Akeake seeds.The akeake seeds are easy to collect
locally, and I know germinate easily in our local conditions. Seeing as
it was the first time using this method, I just used the one type of seed.
The extensive road slip I was trying to replant was steep
difficult to access, another reason to try seed balls. In fact, the seed
balls weren't perfectly round which was good so they didn't roll back
down the hill!
We had lots of fun making them, and will try a different seed
mix next time. I only have a small one-man business to help people in
the Marlborough Sounds keep their land weed and pest free. Replanting
with natives and 'seedballs' is only a small, but important part of my work.
I'm heading out today along the route where the seed balls have
germinated well, so I'll take some photos to send to you. Pity I don't
have any 'before' ones to compare with."
Here are the pictures:
Thanks Andrew !
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