Girardinia Gaudichaud-Beaupré in Freycinet, Voyage Monde, Uranie Physicienne Bot. 498. Mar 1830 (‘1826’).
LT.: G. leschenaultiana Jacquemont (Voyage Inde 4: 152. 1844)
One of the aims of our work is to identify which species best support agroforest in the Amazon. There are well over 25 native Inga species in our study area. From our knowledge of these species elsewhere in South America we know that some are small-leaved or slow-growing species that would not be much use in soil rehabilitation whilst others do not respond well to pollarding. This leaves ten or so species that we would like to include in our experimental plots. The logistics of including additional species is, however, a challenge as trees produce fruit for a short period and when they do there is stiff competition for them from birds and monkeys. Also seed has to be planted within hours of being removed from the fruit. Continue reading Trialing a fourth agroforest species: Inga velutina
Terry Pennington is an expert on Inga and of its use in agroforestry having published detailed descriptions and illustrations of all ca 300 species and spent many years researching and promoting their use in agroforestry culminating in his 1998 book on Inga utilization. Terry’s role is to provide technical advice and trouble-shooting as well as oversee the final product.
Planting Inga trees in cattle pasture was undertaken as an experiment in order to evaluate its potential. It had not been done before in South America and although hopeful we did not know what to expect. As can be seen above, two months in, things are not looking so good for many of the seedlings which look stressed and not growing. This could be for several reasons: the ground is heavily compacted by cattle, they are in a very open site exposed to the sun or they have not had enough rain. Interestingly the slower-growing currently undescribed species of Inga that we trialled has fared significantly better and although it hasn’t grown appears to have settled in well. On seeing these images, Inga expert Terry Pennington remained quite optimistic and says that there is a good chance that they will recover and grow. Continue reading Enriched cattle pasture two months on….
After much hard work by members of the San José and Palacio communities helped by Rolman Velarde and Rodrigo Flores we planted another two agroforest plots this April 2014. The seedlings were four months old and this entails a risk that they could be root-bound. They were also planted right at the end of the wet season and so will not benefit from a couple of months of rain to become established. We will be observing their progress with a lot of interest as due to poor weather earlier in the year and flooding at Palacio these plots have been plotted in suboptimal conditions. Their success or failure will provide us with important information on maximum seedling size for sowing and whether or not the dry season should be considered a barrier to planting out young plants.
It is now two months since planting our first agroforest plot at the end of February. Rolman Velarde and Rodrigo Flores have been returning every two weeks to assess how the seedlings are doing: how many have died, how they have grown and the development of weeds. As you can see comparing the image above and below the seedlings have produced new growth and incredibly none have died. Whilst weeds have grown up they are not encroaching on the seedlings’ light. It is important for us to document weed growth as estimating the weeding frequency and associated cost will be a significant factor in determining how attractive such a permaculture system is to local people.