Seed Balls Promote Biodiversity after Forest Fires


In Spain, a group of design students has conceived a novel method of restoring diversity following forest fires—hanging biodegradable balls containing seeds, which fall to the forest floor or are eaten by birds and other animals and carried elsewhere for germination. 

Dubbed DISPERSEED, the 3D-printed balls are a national runner-up for the 2022 James Dyson Award. The balls themselves are made of dough, so they are either eaten or degrade. 

DISPERSEED specifically aims to maintain biodiversity, as rising incidences of forest fires favors pyrophytic plants that have evolved to thrive after fires—at the expense of other species. 

The team at Valencia Polytechnic University was made up of Irene Badía Madrigal, Diego Polo García, Carmen Amorós Egea, Claudia Daudén Llodrá, Carmen Benítez Mora and  David Zaragozá Sabater. 

“In Spain it is unusual to have a summer in which there are no wildfires,” the designers said in their James Dyson Award submission, as reported by Yanko Design. “We have decided to design a product that favors the diversity of non-pyrophytic species in Mediterranean forest areas. This product allows for creating healthier and more sustainable forests that have greater resistance to these types of disasters.”