Bamboo Replanting at Wübu, Livingston, Guatemala
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.
|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.
The process was as follows:
- 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.
- Clear the lines. We weeded along each line, 2 meters wide.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mulch. Finally, we cleared about 2 meters around each planting, and threw the cut vegetation around the base of each tree/bamboo as mulch.
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.