It is now three months since we sowed our first seed and most of the seedlings are now 40 cm tall and ready for planting out. Together with Terry Pennington I am planning to travel to Bolivia in a couple of weeks where with Peruvian Jaime Leon we will assist with establishing the first Inga agroforest plot in the Amazon. The only problem is that most of the community members are deep in the forest harvesting Brazil Nuts!
Inga seeds have no dormant stage and germinate directly . In addition the trees fruit for a short period of time, maybe only a couple of weeks and the fruit are very popular with monkeys and parrots. This means that it is not always possible to find seed for sowing unless you are living close to appropriate seed trees and get to them before the monkeys or parrots. It is, however, often easy to find large numbers of young seedlings growing under the parent trees as parrots and monkeys have to shell the pods to extract the sweet covering on each seed and so tend not to stray too far. We therefore decided to evaluate the potential of these ‘wild’ seedlings for establishing agroforest. Continue reading Assessing the use of wild seedlings for agroforestry
Our strategy for choosing the Inga species that we are trialing is to focus on native species. This ensures that we maximize the biodiversity that will associate with the trees once established. It also avoids the risk of introducing an exotic species which then becomes an invasive weed. We are lucky in that there are over 300 species of Inga in Latin America and well over 20 within the Bolivian Amazon. While we may look spoilt for choice we do, however, need to ensure that the species we select are fast-growing, have thick relatively large leaves and will grow to become medium-sized trees. Continue reading The Inga species that we are trialing