Community Forests’ Research Nursery

by Community Forests International on April 1, 2010

Recently we began designing for an expansion of one of our best nurseries, with plans to make it our center of forestry research here on Pemba. We’re keeping with the low-tech, affordable nature of our community nurseries and adding some basic improvements including on-site rainwater harvesting, a sheltered work space for pot manufacturing, and a surrounding garden of useful multipurpose plants.

The plants will include several whose properties repel pests, combat harmful fungal infections, and provide micronutrients. For example, the local taro leaf contains calcium oxalate  (same needle shaped crystal that exist in rhubarb) and can be used as a spray-on broad-spectrum pest repellant; Papaya leaf has a strong anti-fugal nature; and a perimeter of lemon grass confuses pests while providing a steady supply of delicious tea. The fact that these plants are common and produce an edible yield is key, they lend themselves well to the permaculture principal of multifunction. The main goal of the research nursery is to trial new techniques and species to identify those which should be adopted in the 13 community nurseries.

Lemongrass (know locally as mchai chai)

Lemongrass (know locally as mchai chai)

We are fortunate to have Abdallah, our enthusiastic and knowledgeable field officer, to take care of the trials. Abdallah has a green thumb for sure, he raises a variety of healthy seedlings year after year. With luck we’ll be able to add several new indigenous species to our planting projects next season.

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