Tropical Botany

Enriched cattle pasture two months on….

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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.Our next steps are to keep monitoring the seedlings and to plant two additional pasture sites to see whether this is likely to be a recurring problem or not. The important thing for us is to remember that this is an experiment and even if its doesn’t work as planned it will certainly not be wasted effort.

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