In our past few weeks at the reserve we (Alex, Philipp, Stephanie, Alwina, Dominik and Sophia) worked on a reforestation project. The idea was to take trees from our tree nursery and plant them on a neighbor’s former pastoral land.
The work began in the middle of the cloud forest, where we searched and collected seeds from different primary forest trees, like Teme, Pagche, Cascarilla and Tangare. We focused on Teme seeds, which we took back to the tree nursery at Nicole’s and Wilo’s house. The seeds were put into soil, so that they could germinate. While the plants grew, we prepared little plastic bags with soil and chalk to put the germinated seeds in.
After a couple of weeks we potted them into the prepared plastic bags and put them next to the other trees in the tree nursery. The trees were watered every day until they were strong enough to be transplanted.
Last Friday, we got up early to carry about 150 of the plastic baged Teme plants, a couple of shovels and a bag of wood chips to Wilo’s truck. We all got onto the truck and drove to Luis’ and Wyndy’s finca (the neighbors), where we met Luis and his volunteers Egon and Lulu. First Luis cut down circles into the high grown grass, to mark the spots where the trees should be planted. After some of us dug holes with shovels, the others went on with mixing soil and wood chips to add biomass to the poor site. Then the plants were put into the ground and covered with soil and some more wood chips. When all the trees were planted, Luis turned on the water, which comes from a water source on a neighbor’s property, and Egon went over the field and watered all the plants one by one.
The project was a satisfying and memorable experience, where all of us learned something new. We had a lot of fun during all the working processes, even though planting the trees in the sun was exhausting. Well, at least we got a tan ;-)
It also was a rewarding work because we could make up for our bad karma from coming to Ecuador on a plane! And we are looking forward to planting more trees! Don’t you want to join us?
This blog post was written by:
Sophia G., Biology and Economy student, Westfälische Wilhems Universität Münster Stephanie M., Environmental Monitoring student, Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Dresden
Alwina B., International Forest Ecosystem Management student, University for Sustainable Development Eberswalde