Bamboo Replanting at Wübu, Livingston, Guatemala

Bamboo contour lines livingston, guatemala agroforestry, erosion control
Pedro and Santiago planting bamboo,
 above contour lines of madre de cacao stakes.

On the “Dry Hills,” an estimated three quarters of the 400 bamboo planted there in recent years died. Poor management may have contributed to the losses (infrequent weeding, and weeding practices that exposed bare soil to erosive rainfall and drying heat), but the harsh conditions also contributed.

The slopes are steep and rocky. The southwest-facing aspect exposes the hill to full afternoon sun and heat. Futhermore, years of corn monoculture and herbicide use further degraded and eroded the soil. Such conditions limit the vegetation to fast-growing, “weedy” species, which quickly overtook the planted bamboo.

Bamboo contour lines livingston, guatemala agroforestry, erosion control, water bunyip level
Marking the contour lines with a water (a.k.a. bunyip) level.

To address these problems, the replanting plan includes several strategies:
  • Heavy mulch around all plantings, to prevent erosion, retain moisture and eventually build soil.
  • Companion plantings of hardy timber trees and legumes, which will provide shelter and mulch for the bamboo.
  • Planting on contour, along rows of living fences. [see more on these methods at Wübu Agroforestry]
  • More frequent observation and maintenance.
Bamboo contour lines livingston, guatemala agroforestry, erosion control

The process was as follows:
  1. Mark the contour lines.  We used a bunyip level, or water level, which allowed for covering greater distances across the hill, through shoulder-high weeds, quicker compared to our A-level, which can only be placed on cleared ground.
  2. Clear the lines.  We weeded along each line, 2 meters wide.
  3. Install Stakes.  We staked the lines with poles of madre de cacao (Glericidium sepium), which will resprout as living walls, providing shade, erosion control and mulch.
  4. Replant.  Then we planted bamboo, about 1.5 meters above each wall, with a spacing of 5 meters between each bamboo.  Then we planted Santa Maria (Calophyllum brasiliense), two between each bamboo with spacing about 1.5 meters.
  5. Mulch.  Finally, we cleared about 2 meters around each planting, and threw the cut vegetation around the base of each tree/bamboo as mulch.


Bamboo contour lines livingston, guatemala agroforestry, erosion control, water bunyip level

Final Stats:  489 meters of contour lines, with roughly 815 stakes of madre de cacao, planted with around 100 bamboo and 200 Santa Maria, on under one hectare (2 acres) of hillside.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Minca, Colombia

Greenville, South Carolina, USA

Witherspoon Retreat, Cleveland, South Carolina