Trialing a fourth agroforest species: Inga velutina

velutina crop
Freshly harvested fruit of Inga velutina collected by Rolman Velarde and Rodrígo Flores in April. Image: Rolman Velarde, Herencia

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. The result is that we are currently trialling only three Inga vareties: wild Inga edulis, domesticated Inga edulis and a species new to science. We lost out to monkeys over Inga ingoides fruit in March but were fortunate enough to collect fruit of Inga velutina (see image above) this April. Quick planting by Rolman and Rodrígo has ensured that we now have a batch of seedlings that should be ready for planting in a few months!

velutina germinating crop
Seedlings of Inga velutina three weeks after sowing. In a few montsh they should be ready for inclusion in an agroforest plot or cattle pasture. Image: Rolman Velarde, Herencia



2 thoughts on “Trialing a fourth agroforest species: Inga velutina”

  1. Alex,
    The ArBolivia project has been working with similar leguminous species in the Bolivian tropics since 2007 – following a 5 year FAO research project. The Project manager, Sicirec Bolivia, also has a team of 40 staff including 16 field agents, each working with 40 – 50 familiies on analogue forestry and climate smart agricultire systems – it would be could to co-ordinate!

    1. Dear David,
      Many thanks for your comments and for getting in touch. Yes it would definitely be good to coordinate. Out of interest are you working with Inga species? We are targeting this genus for its rapid growth and leaf-litter production on damaged soils rather than because it is a legume. We work within the context of local development plans developed by our partner NGO, Herencia, and each community. I will be in Bolivia from June 23 to July 4, probably I will be restricted to Cobija and Santa Cruz.
      With best wishes, Alex

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