By Vienna Leigh | Communications Manager, WeForest
The community nurseries supported by our project with IPÊ in thePontal do Paranapanema region are paving the way in the sustainable production of native seedlings. The traditional plastic tubes are being replaced by biodegradable paper tubes that don't harm the environment, known as ‘ecopots’.
As well as the environmental benefits, the pots are kinder to the seedlings. "The roots are able to pass through the biodegradable tube due to the porosity of the paper,” Nivaldo Ribeiro Campos, coordinator of the community nurseries, says. “The new pots keep the roots closer to their natural state and help the development of the seedlings in the ground." In addition, the seedlings are transported to the field without the need to remove the container, as is the case with traditional tubes. This reduces waste, labour and, consequently, costs.
IPÊ provided each nursery with an average of 40 production trays and 5,000 ecopots to start the transition process. We’re already seeing that nursery owners are pleased with them, with 10% of production already being carried out using the new tubes.
Iraci Lopes Corado, owner of the Viva Verde nursery, found that the Jatobá seed (Hymenaea courbaril) is one of the species that develops very well in the ecopots, and the production of different species of ipês (Handroanthus or Tabebuia spp.) has improved a lot. The rooting of this species made it difficult to remove the seedling from plastic containers, which led to a lot of split or broken pots to discard, or even the death of seedlings sometimes. "With the ecopot, this problem no longer exists because the seedling goes straight into the ground," she says. She likes them so much that she’s invested her own funds in 460 more trays!
In our Tietê Forests project with AES Brasil, there was excitement all around last month for the first ever harvest from the Dandara Rural Settlement agroforestry plots!
Silvia, pictured here with her mother Cícera, has been nurturing different types of pumpkins, green beans and peppers since she established her 0.5 ha agroforestry system back in December 2022, alongside fruit and native tree species. She sold 13 kg of veg, earning BRL 91 (about US$19) in local markets – and she's also sharing her pumpkins with her neighbours, ensuring her family gets their fair share, and even keeping her pigs well-fed.
In 2024, she'll expand her pumpkin production, aiming to supply public institutions through a Brazilian policy that supports small farmers by providing food to schools, hospitals and prisons. As her trees keep growing, Silvia's taking full advantage of her plot’s potential to produce a bountiful harvest. We're thrilled to see these incredible results!
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