Something as simple as a dedicated area for seeding and growing young trees can make a huge difference in the ability of a community to reforest a degraded area or establish an agroforestry plot. EcoLogic helps local people create nurseries and greenhouses that local groups, usually volunteers, maintain and use to grow native tree seedlings.
Nurseries can be as simple as a cleared space with wooden frameworks covered with netting or vegetable matting (to provide shade for the young plants), or as comprehensive as greenhouses with irrigation systems that support the production of tens of thousands of tree seedlings a year. For example, in Totonicapan we collaborated in the construction and successful management of eight greenhouses, which annually can produce more than 200,000 native tree seedlings.
We seize every opportunity to help our local partners and communities establish new nurseries to increase the availability of tree seedlings. In collaboration with our local partner organization, we help communities obtain building materials, potting bags and trays, trowels, watering cans, and other basic material and equipment needed to start a successful nursery. EcoLogic technicians train community members about the best ways to plant seeds, soil quality, watering and transplanting practices, disease identification, and sustainable and organic pest management methods. Where possible, technicians collaborate with local people to collect quality tree seeds from the local area; alternatively, we identify local and commercial sellers and help the community source viable and affordable seed.
We are currently in the process of identifying and supporting local growers of inga seed, an important companion tree in our agroforestry practice, to increase its availability for new adopters of the practice. To support this effort, we are establishing new nurseries near participating farmers with mature inga trees.