Seed 'bombs' launched to repopulate fire-damaged area

The 'seed bombs' launched over the Barranco Pérez area.
The 'seed bombs' launched over the Barranco Pérez area. / SUR
  • 30 species of native trees and plants were dropped over the Barranco Pérez ravine from a Guardia Civil helicopter on Wednesday morning

Malaga's Diputación, the public body which oversees the province's local authorities, carried out a pilot project in an attempt to plant new trees in a fire-damaged area near Cómpeta on Wednesday.

The project, which is the first of its kind in Andalucía, spread 27,000 seed 'bombs' containing over half a million seeds from 30 different species of native trees and plants, including pines, carob, rosemary, thyme, lavender, grasses, mustard and cereal crops, over the Barranco Pérez ravine which belongs to Cómpeta and is located in the Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama mountain range.

A Guardia Civil helicopter was used to distribute the seeds over the area which is impossible to access by foot. The 'bombs', or discs, are made of clay, which according to provincial Environment chief, Marina Bravo, “protects the seeds from birds, rodents and insects”. She also said “rain will help their germination and they will be perfectly preserved.” Bravo added that in previous experiments of this kind, 80 per cent of the seeds planted had germinated.

Two hundred hectares of Mediterranean forest were destroyed by wildfires in 2014 and mayor of Cómpeta, Obdulio Pérez, said on Tuesday that the Junta de Andalucía had not done anything in the area since the fires happened more than three years ago.

The technique used by the Diputación, known as 'Nendo Dango', meaning 'seed ball', was developed by the late Japanese farmer, biologist and philosopher, Masanobu Fukuoka, over 70 years ago.

According to Bravo, the experiment will be closely monitored and, if successful, similar projects could be carried out in other areas including Villanueva de Tapia and Sierra de Yeguas, which are both near Antequera and home to old rubbish tips.