How to create an Oasis
Mixing it up to save Banni grasslands
Pastoral communities are fighting invasive species in Gujarat’s Banni grasslands by using a combination of seeds that can withstand heavy, normal and low rainfall
Gujarat’s pastoral Maldhari community is trying to revive the Banni grasslands that are fast degrading due to the onslaught of invasive plant species Prosopis julifora. The members, along with non-profit Sahjeevan, started a
project earlier this year where they are replacing the invasive species they call gando babool with mixed varieties of
native seeds in six plots spread over 125 hectares (ha). “Rainfall is erratic. So we are using a seed mix that can
withstand heavy, normal and low rainfall,” says Pankaj Joshi of Sahjeevan.
They are also reclaiming the grassland portions where some of the community members started illegal farming. “We are sowing small pellet balls of mixed seeds, manure, soil and water in 15 ha,” says Joshi. The members are also sensitising the young members of the community to draw them back to livestock rearing.
First published by Down to Earth on 7 Sep. 2019 as part of How to Create an Oasis