Activities performed on our timber plantations during
the months of Jan, Feb & Mar 2016
We are expecting 2016 to provide us with even more positive results than experienced in 2015. This year, we have begun many activities which have been planned in order to obtain these improved results. Among the activities we’re already implementing across our different plantations are: carrying out the clearing of the fence lanes in order to avoid fires, continuous vigilance from our security guards acting like park rangers, attention to our nurseries so the number of young plants continues growing for ongoing planting, increased irrigation infrastructure, introduction of drinking troughs & food deposits for monkeys that have been affected by the drought.
Please review the following descriptions of the activities carried out month by month.
Activities in January:
Among the activities carried out were:
- Irrigation of Paulownia plants.
- Cleaning the fence line to avoid fires.
- Measuring the height of Paulownia plants.
- Soil extraction for filling nursery bags.
1. Irrigation of Paulownia plants.
Once the dry season starts its time to begin the manual application of water, supplying 2 liters of water per plant every 8 days till the winter rains arrive.
2. Cleaning of the fence line around the farm.
3. Measuring the height of Paulownia plants.
In 2015 we replanted the Paulownia plantation of 2013, planting a total of 19 lots. The replanting was started in the month of September 2015. Currently, plants show an age of 4 months since they were established in the field with sizes as follows:
- On lots 141 through 150, the size is an average height of 1.2 meters.
- On lots 151 through 156, the size is an average height of 1 meter.
- On lots 156 through 158, the size is an average height of 1.7 meters.
- On lots 161 through 162, the size is an average height of 1 meter.
4. Soil extraction for filling of nursery bags.
This year we began bagging soil in which to grow over 130,000 new pochote and mahogany seedlings. Some of these seedlings are planned to replace any losses due to the lack of water in 2015 while the majority will be for new trees.
The first activity that has been underway is the preparation of the substrate where the seeds will be established. This begins with the selection of the right soil and lots and lots of hand labor. The substrate used for filling the bags is made up of soil taken from our own volcanic land and has been filtered of any contaminants and then mixed with rice husks.
Activities in February:
Activities performed were:
- Cleaning of the well and fixing of the drinking trough.
- Irrigation of the 2013 Paulownias.
- Samples of pests and measurement of height in Paulownia plants.
- Current state of the 2013 Paulownias.
- Setting up the seed nursery.
- Deliniation of lots.
1.Cleaning of the well and fixing of the drinking trough.
Due to the impact of the recent drought in this area, water sources have been reduced and in some places is even harder to find; the water is found deeper than in past years.
There are many wells across our plantations and, due to the drought, the water level in some of them was lower than last year. For this reason, we performed excavations and cleanings of those few wells in order to once again have access to our source of water.
Filling repaired trough. White-faced monkey drinking water from a bucket.
So that we would not have the problem of a lack of drinking water for the animals, we enacted a simple plan to place water filled buckets at key points where animals, like white-faced and howler monkeys, most often roam. As you can see in the pictures, they readily gather at these buckets and, since this plan began, we have noticed a greater presence of howler monkeys, white faced monkeys even ocelots frequenting the reliable water sources.
2. Irrigation of the 2013 Paulownias.
One of the main activities carried out was the irrigation of the Paulownia trees which are at an age where a consistent water supply is essential for continued growth.
3. Samples of pests and measurement of height in Paulownia plants.
IPM (Integrated Pest Management) is another plan which is implemented on the plantations. IPM consists of utilizing a suitable pest control in the field that controls pests while maintaining safe environmental levels. This control comes from using biological and botanical products to protect the plantations and reducing the use of chemical products as well.
Currently we are performing a sampling of our Paulownias every 8 days writing down the number of insects found on them, the type of damage caused and monitoring the growth of the plants.
Among the insects most frequently found, we have the Black Ant. At the beginning we thought that this insect was the responsible for defoliating the plants. But after some observations, we noticed that this small insect actually works symbiotically with the plant. This symbiosis consists of the Paulownia plants releasing a substance which feeds the ant and in return the ant protects the plant from other more dangerous insects.
4. Current state of Paulownia plants in 2013 plantation.
Even with regular watering it is not unusual for younger trees (including our Paulownia and teak) to drop most of their leaves during the dry season. Due to the recent drought this occurred and we noticed that most of Paulownia plants have dropped many of their leaves and only the stems remain. This is a means of protection that prevents water loss by transpiration through the leaves and allows the roots to focus on maintaining their health with the water supplies available to them. This doesn’t show itself much with our other species that are more used to the local environment and the cyclical nature of the weather.
We initiated a small test on one of the corporately held lots Pauwlonias in order to observe their behavior in a prolonged period of continuous access to water. It is too soon to have noticed any results yet, but we intend to continue with this test for at least several more months looking for any changes.
We took our parcel of 40 Paulownia trees and divided them into 4 patches. In the first patch we apply water every day with 2 liters per plant and organically fertilize each using a concentration of 46% urea. In the second patch we do the same, but only twice a week. In the third patch, we apply water daily and no organic fertilizer. In the fourth patch we water twice a week with no organic fertilizer used.
5. Setting up the seed nursery.
Rows of pochote and mahogany seeds ready for germination. Once all seeds germinate, we will plant them into their respective bags of prepared soil. The preparation of the nursery was the main activity carried out his month. The objective is to plant between 38,000 to 40,000 plants between pochote and mahogany, with many more to come in future months across other plantations.
6. Deliniation of lots.
In the first weeks of March we began set out the limits of every lot and placing landmarks (stakes) with the respective lot number. Every landmark was painted and numbered so everyone can see a clear location for each lot and the yellow stakes ensure a greater visibility even amongst vegetation.
Activities in March:
Activities performed were:
- Continued refilling of troughs for watering monkeys.
- Continued irrigation of the Paulownias in the test parcel.
- Continued lot delineation.
- Continued preparations in nursery.
- Creating feeding stations for animals.
1-3. Continued as before.
4. Continued preparations in nursery.
5. Creating feeding stations for animals.
As a socially responsible company with a focus on the conservation and preservation of the natural resources and wildlife under their control, Precious Timber has implemented a care and protection plan. It basically consist of installing water and food containers all around the farms; not only monkeys benefit from this, but also birds, ocelot, reptiles and all the local wildlife.
This supplemental diet really improves their health which becomes heavily compromised if access to the leaves and fruits they require is not readily available. We set out a variety of very inexpensive options to hold food and water which are easily filled every couple of days as the plantation workers go about their day.
As you see on the pictures we feed them with mangos, bananas and papaya that are all inexpensive and readily available to us. Our employees have really taken to this effort and are proud and excited any time an animal is seen enjoying the fruits (pun intended) of their labor.
Since we started this conservation plan we have seen a greater presence of monkeys and now you can hear them howling again from far away. They have returned to beautify the tree summits.