Reconnecting the Cardamom Mountain rainforest habitat requires reforesting lands once lost to logging or burning. In May, before the onset of the rainy season, we put most of our efforts in to planting in the reforestation fields, as wells as maintaining the previous year’s planted trees. As the monsoon season approaches in June planting becomes impossible due to the heavy rains. But the reforestation project continues its work with native tree species, at the Million Tree Nursery in Chi Phat Commune.
We are currently taking care of 500,000 previously planted trees. The young trees that were planted last season require special attention in order to ensure good development until maturation. This includes such necessary activities as plowing and weed-pulling between trees, fertilizing the soil, and replacing trees that did not survive the dry season.
During the month of May, the Million Tree Nursery was extremely busy. Community workers selected and collected seedlings from different shade nets and then organized them by size and mixed species. These seedlings are then uploaded on to a tractor, where they will be taken to the fields to be planted. Our planting fields do no resemble tree farms, with uniform rows of identical trees. In our reforestation project, the diversity of the tree species - some small shrubs, some tall canopy trees - is meant to reflect the natural distribution of trees throughout the forest, providing renewed habitat for the Cardamoms’ diversity of terrestrial and arboreal wildlife, from birds to reptiles to small mammals.
Throughout the month of June, timed around the heavy rains and seasonal flooding of the fields, the reforestation program will collect a wide variety of native tree seeds to sow in germination trays in our greenhouse. As the seeds germinate and begin to grow, they are taken out of the greenhouse to fields protected with shade netting, where they are irrigated and fertilized so they will be ready to plant next year.
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Communications and Finance Field Liaison