Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tree Nursery

Hello again!

So as I said a cpuple days ago, Kez (our science and training officer) went up to Ukunda to visit the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) Coastal Forest research Unit to gather information on their tree nursery. This is because we (Friends and Shimoni Forest and GVI) are going to be starting tree nurseries in some of the local schools (you can look back at a previous blog about the FSF meeting we had recently).
Adanosia digitata - AKA the baobab tree! A key species for primates

One of the aims of Friends of Shimoni Forest (FSF) is reforestation, specifically with indigenous trees, and trees that have been highlighted as important for primate species such as the Angolan black and white colobus.
We realised that starting a series of small nurseries started in schools would potentially have several benefits. Firstly, it would solve the issue of land and space for the nurseries, as the schools tend to have areas of land that are unused. Secondly you would have a whole army of children who could take the time to water the nurseries and look after the trees. And to follow on from this, it will hopefully raise awareness amongst the children of the importance of trees and instil a sense of pride and ownership within them.

Of course growing indigenous trees is not that simple. It is a precise science knowing exactly what species to grow, and therefore how much space, water, light and attention those different species require. This is why Kez went to visit Saidi, the man who knows it all!
She asked him what species he would recommend to begin the nurseries, and he provided us with a comprehensive list. Some of the key indigenous species for replanting that he highlighted included; Coffea pseudozanguebariae (listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list), Adansonia digitata, Teclea simplifolia, Ochna thomasiana, fernandoa magnifica and Milicia excelsa.

Milicia excelsa - another key species

He then explained the basic principle of starting a nursery, including what type of bag to plant the seeds in, what the composition of top soil, fertiliser and other substances the trees should be planted in, and how often they should be watered. He also explained about amounts of direct sunlight the saplings should receive – a crucial factor for the survival of the trees.

It was a very successful meeting, and Kez came away armed with a lot of information. What was also excellent to see was Saidi’s enthusiasm and approval of the project. NMK do annual replanting in various different places up and down the coast, but no here in Shimoni, and Saidi said how important it was that someone was doing it. He also expressed his desire to help, by donating as many seeds as he could for free, and coming down personally to advise in the replanting.

So well done Kez, and a huge thank you to Saidi! We’ll keep you updated on the progress.