Friday, 6 February 2009
We're working on a reforestation project on the Pacific coast. It's a relatively small project, planting 3,000 trees, but it feels good to be involved. The land is old cattle pasture and of the 100 or so hectares, 80% is marked for reforestation with the other 20% being developed "ecologically". We are planning to create a 'natural' forest, not a plantation, which means looking carefully at the area and replicating what a natural forest would look like. It's difficult to find a 'natural' forest in that so many trees and plants have been introduced to Costa Rica, and the owners want to encourage birds and animals which means we'll be using some non native species as tasty treats to lure in macaws and monkeys. But we'll do our best to keep it as natural as possible meaning that we will intercrop around 30 species with mixed canopy, middle and understory trees. We will plant at good spacing giving the land opportunity to re-establish itself, with lots of opportunity for grasses and shrubs to grow. This will bring life back to the land as the initial plants will provide a living mulch and encourage mini ecosystems and communities for other plants and wildlife. This will also re-invigorate the soil and feed the saplings.
It's proving a challenge to find the trees. We have begun an on-site nursery using saplings we find on the land. There are a couple of organisations which will supply trees for reforestation projects, but mainly they supply plantation style trees and we are looking for a much more mixed style of forest. It's very interesting.