Reseeding makes planting tens of thousands of trees a possibility for even one individual.
One of the main ways which Re-forestry/Rewilding is currently taking place is through mass planting off seedlings of trees grown in nurseries. There is obviously a need for this type of planting, but it has some serious disadvantages.
Various organizations have adopted the seedling approach, but the method is expensive and time-consuming. If an individual wanted to plant, say, 10,000 trees by this method it would likely be beyond their reach, or take a number of years to complete. However, if the same individual wanted to plant 10,000 trees via Reseeding that would be quite within their reach. The time it would take to collect seeds would be a matter of a few hours (depending on the type of trees) plus it would take them around 20 hours to do the actual planting.
If we use the commercial costs of seeds versus seedlings as a rough guide to comparing the amount of effort involved the picture gets clearer. Let’s use Scots Pine, a common pioneer species in some part of the world, as an example.
Planting via Seedlings
Scots Pine seedlings, in bulk, are around £0.25 each. They are usually protected by either a fence of plastic spirals, because of the danger of predation. Plastic spirals are around £0.25 each. Typically, therefore it would be £0.50 per seedling, which would mean £5,000 for the 10,000 of them. The ground often has to be cleared before they can be planted to remove competing plants. Planting the seedlings involves a lot of bending and crouching down, so it’s heavy on the back and knees.
Moving 10,000 of them on-site is a big effort as they make up a lot of weight and they are sometimes flown in by helicopter to remote places. They are often planted close together in the same area as this is more “efficient”.
Additionally, this method of planting is mass production and it produce a mono-culture of a “forest” which is not really a forest at all, as all the trees are the same. There is very little real support for local wildlife in this form of planting.
The local wildlife often get seen as ’the enemy’ because they are seen as a danger to the expensive seedlings.
Planting via Reseeding
It costs less than £0.01 per seed for Scots Pine (and often you can gather them for free locally). A quantity of 10,000 can easily be carried in a backpack or even a pocket. It would take approximately 20 hours to plant them. There is no need to clear the land in advance, in fact they are planted directly among the locally growing shrubs (such as heather or whatever is the local equivalent). The local shrubs therefore provide cover to help protect the emerging trees from predation in their first few years.
The planting takes place while the person walks upright at a comfortable walking pace, with little or no need to bend. The planting can take place over as wide an area as the person is happy to walk. They can spread out their planting. It is relatively easy to carry a number of different types of seeds and randomly or deliberately change them as the person is out reseeding.
The local wildlife do not become seen as the enemy, and they are not much of a threat to the emerging trees, in this way of planting. In fact it is understood that when the trees mature the local wildlife will help spread their seeds. The seeds are cheap so it does not matter if a percentage of the emerging trees get predated upon. The local wildlife will pay their way all in good time. This allows a much more compassionate and inclusive approach to local wildlife. If some emerging trees get damaged, so what. Just plant some more as it is so easy and cheap to do.
Reseeding offers a wholistic and big picture approach to Rewilding as it includes the local wildlife as part of the picture right from the beginning. It puts the power to act into the hands of individuals and/or small groups of people. Of course, it can be adapted to large scale projects too.