Seed preparation for re-forestation
Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Chi Phat, Cambodia:
On March 6 after patrolling the forests of Cambodia with Wildlife Alliance's Ranger team, I went with Amy, Wildlife Alliance's International Development Manager, to experience Wildlife Alliance join forces with the communiities to take care of baby plants in order to RE-forest destroyed pieces of land.
Past the ecotourism village and the windy roads lined by houses now growing sustainable farming (not slash-and-burn farming) thanks to Wildlife Alliance, deep into the forest and over a small river - we arrived at the re-forestation nursery and staff house. There we were welcomed by the 2 live in staff overseeing the re-forestation - Annette and Ariel. They were warm and welcoming sharing stories and experiences, along with challenges and hopes for the project and living so far separated from the city.
The next morning bright and early - I watched the villagers arrive and joined to observe the daily process of what it takes to RE-FOREST a destroyed and practically now barren chunk of forest. There were 3 overall steps: (1)Seed preparation, (2) Greenhouse, and (3) Shade Net.
Seed prep involves collecting local seeds, testing what soil works best, if it needs lime to balance ph, and what supports the best growth. Then the seds are peeled, treated and planted.
Greenhouse involves misting and "nursing" of the baby seeds - each delicate and struggling for survivial.
Once large enough they are transerred to the Shade Net area where they are replanted in larger bags with natural fertilizer and tended to until large enough to be transered strategically to mimic a natural forest process to the large plots of destroyed land.
At the time there were 22 workders but I was told taht during planting season there could be as many as 80 - all from local villages. It was wonderful to learn that the villagers felt invested in the land that they previously used to burn and take from, now working to create and plant back into. This program was changing the mentality for wokders because they now could identify with not only the work it goes into to re-create the forest but also to take care of it and sustain it along with the fruits it could provide in a sustainable way. And what's more- once these were planted... the land became officially protected even by government from development and destruction. So far this project has plotted over 37,000 trees and almost 500 hectares todate.
This project was empowering communities and protecting forests - and it was very exciting and eye-opening to first hand experience how easy and quick it is to destroy a forest that can essentially provide everything you need... and then how much work, time, and patience it takes to rebuild that environment.
For more details and pictures about my visit please visit: JacquelineInTheField
Transfering Seedlings to Shade Net