Natural degradation and loss of forest cover is a worldwide problem and in Meghalaya, the story is no different. As trees fall, we lose water sources and fertile soil, and our ecosystems get ravaged by landslides, floods and climate change. Afforestation is one of the key ways to regenerate ecosystems and Meghalaya is doing it differently.





The government has launched multiple initiatives aimed at promoting afforestation and reforestation  one of which is the Seedball initiative, which is helmed by the Community Led Landscape Management Project, under the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency.


The seedball program is strategically designed to address critical environmental challenges through a multifaceted approach aimed at reforestation, habitat restoration, and biodiversity conservation. By reintroducing native plant species to degraded and barren landscapes using seed balls, the initiative catalyses the recovery of ecosystems and enhances biodiversity. This approach not only supports a variety of wildlife by providing essential habitats and food sources but also plays a crucial role in stabilizing soil and preventing erosion. Additionally, the growth of these plants significantly contributes to carbon sequestration, actively reducing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and mitigating the effects of climate change.

Alongside its environmental objectives, the seedball program places a strong emphasis on community engagement and education. It involves local communities, particularly students, in the entire process from seed ball creation to dispersal, fostering a sense of responsibility and pride in environmental conservation efforts. This hands-on involvement helps raise awareness about the importance of ecological stewardship and promotes sustainable practices among participants. The program’s design as a low-cost, low-tech solution ensures that it is accessible and practical, enabling adaptation to various environments, including those that are arid or traditionally difficult for cultivation. Through these efforts, the seedball initiative aims to cultivate a long-lasting impact, empowering communities to continue these practices and advocate for a healthier planet.

 How to make seedballs?

The seedball initiative is not just a conservation effort; it’s a craft deeply rooted in local traditions and ecological knowledge. The preparation involves a meticulous process of selecting and mixing various locally-sourced materials this includes specific types of clay and compost, which are combined in precise proportions to ensure the seedballs are robust yet biodegradable. The choice of plant species for inclusion in the seedballs is based on thorough research into the local ecosystems. Each species is selected not only for its ability to thrive in Meghalaya’s unique environmental conditions but also for the benefits it provides to the communities as it matures, such as food, fodder, and soil stabilization.

The initiative engages a broad spectrum of the community, which is crucial for its success and impact. Central to the process are the Village Community Facilitators (VCFs), who play a pivotal role in training and mobilizing local participants, including students and teachers. These facilitators are key in transferring knowledge and skills related to the crafting of seedballs, ensuring that the initiative is rooted in local expertise and tailored to the specific environmental needs of the region.

By involving students and teachers, the initiative extends its reach into the educational institutions, fostering a culture of conservation from an early age. This educational component is strategic, as it equips the younger generation with the knowledge and passion needed to sustain and expand these conservation efforts in the future. The comprehensive training provided by the VCFs, under the guidance of Training Specialists, ensures that the community is engaged and empowered to take proactive steps in environmental preservation, thereby enhancing the region’s ecological and community resilience. Through this structured training and community involvement, Meghalaya’s seedball initiative stands as a model of effective and inclusive environmental action.



The monitoring and evaluation process of Meghalaya’s seedball initiative is a crucial aspect that ensures the effectiveness and longevity of the environmental efforts. This comprehensive approach involves detailed monitoring of plant growth at every dispersal site, with the geo-coordinates of all 5,000 sites meticulously recorded. This geospatial tracking allows for precise assessment and follow-up, ensuring that the seedballs are effectively contributing to reforestation and habitat restoration.

Additionally, a network of students who participate in the seedball dispersal plays a vital role in the monitoring process. These students actively observe and record the germination and growth of the plants from the seedballs they planted. This hands-on involvement not only provides valuable data on the success rates and ecological impact of the initiative but also fosters a deep sense of responsibility and connection to the conservation efforts among the youth.

Recognition of these efforts is also an integral part of the initiative. During significant environmental events, such as World Environment Day, the contributions of these students and the broader community are celebrated. This recognition serves to motivate continued participation and engagement, highlighting the importance of community involvement in achieving sustainable environmental outcomes. Through such structured monitoring and recognition, the seedball initiative not only promotes ecological health but also cultivates a culture of stewardship and pride within the community.



The impact of the seedball program is profound and multifaceted, addressing environmental, educational, and community engagement goals. Firstly, environmentally, the program contributes significantly to reforestation and habitat restoration. By reintroducing native plant species to degraded landscapes, the initiative not only recovers and stabilizes ecosystems but also enhances biodiversity. This biodiversity is crucial for the health of wildlife, providing essential habitats and food sources. Additionally, the vegetation that emerges from these seed balls stabilizes the soil and prevents erosion, which is vital for maintaining fertile land and healthy ecosystems. Moreover, the plants and trees grown from seed balls help sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, playing a vital role in mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

Educationally, the program has a substantial impact by integrating environmental stewardship into the curricula of schools involved in the initiative. Meghalaya’s seedball revolution is an initiative spread across 46 blocks in 11 districts and leading the way are the state’s children. Over 75,000 students across 1,840 schools have been engaged, learning not only about the importance of biodiversity but also gaining hands-on experience in ecological conservation practices. This educational component is essential for raising awareness among the younger generation, instilling values of environmental responsibility that can influence long-term behavioural change.

Community engagement is another crucial aspect of the seedball program’s impact. By involving local communities and schools in the creation and distribution of seed balls, the initiative fosters a sense of ownership and pride in environmental efforts. This inclusive approach encourages a collaborative spirit and builds capacity among participants, empowering them to take proactive steps toward sustainable land management. The program’s success is evident in its scale and the enthusiasm of participants, indicating a positive shift towards community-driven conservation efforts that are both impactful and sustainable.




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