Swiss College of Agriculture, Zollikofen

Innovative direct seeding method in the forest

Forest managers are used to planning for decennials and they need to consider possible climate change scenarios. In addition, storm and bark beetle damage may necessitate rejuvenating the forest earlier and faster than foreseen. As an alternative to traditional plantations, an innovative direct seeding method in the forest is proposed. Trials have been conducted with agricultural machines such as manure barrels, pumps, tube bobbin and water cannon with a feed unit. The idea was to eject seeds onto the forest surface by water cannon. It is now clear that this kind of seeding is technically feasible. The machines may be used in the forest without problems. Within a few minutes, the seeds are ejected over a distance of 50-60m. Adding seeds directly into the manure barrel was unsuccessful but adding them by feed unit works well. The advantages of this method are (1) the seeds are sufficiently and efficiently distributed, (2) sprinkling brings seeds into good contact with the soil, (3) forest soil is not driven over again, (4) expensive fell clearing is not necessary and (5) natural regeneration is completed with tree species desired but not yet present. Some questions remain, however, about technical, silvicultural and ecological aspects. Nevertheless, this forest direct seeding method may open new opportunities to companies.

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