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Reports from Planet Drum Staff
Eco-Ecuador Project 2011

Index to 2011 Reports, Set 7 (October 31-December 19, 2011)

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Field Report #8

Clay Plager-Unger
Field Projects Manager
Planet Drum Foundation
October 31-December 19, 2011

Note: Click on photos for larger picture  

The past month and a half has been dedicated to greenhouse maintenance and to watering the trees in bottles that will be transplanted once the rains begin. In the field two new sites have been started, one in El Toro on a piece of government land being used by a local friend who asked us for trees to plant on the hillsides, and the other is a continuation of a site from last year on Doctor Cesar Parra’s land near the greenhouse. Site preparation requires macheteing and hole digging.


Dewey pulls weeds at the greenhouse.

Orlando digs a hole to replace a bamboo support for the greenhouse while Maddy waters trees.
Orlando and Maddy making repairs on the greenhouse.

There has been a severe water shortage at the University Catolica, where the greenhouse is located, causing complications and setbacks concerning the availability of water there. Pipes that normally provide a regular source for water have been dry for months. As a result the University has resorted to hiring water trucks to deliver water to their tanks. Scarcity of water around Bahia recently often makes it difficult to even find a truck available for hire.


Trees at the greenhouse awaiting the rainy season to be planted in the field. Low water levels at the greenhouse have forced us to cut back on water for these trees.

Orlando prepares bamboo strips to reinforce the greenhouse roof.
Dewey and Orlando making repairs to a wall section of the greenhouse.

Due to the dangerously low levels of water at the university, on occasion we have been forced to water the trees by hand, with gallon jugs that are normally reserved for watering trees at the revegetation sites. The rest of the time, the water only trickles out of the hose.


Dewey shows off his handy machete work.

A view from the hillside where we are cleaning trails. This is the El Toro watershed.
Maddy swinging machete.

Being accustomed to the ways in Bahia, we are used to conserving water. Unfortunately, the crisis at the greenhouse means it takes a lot longer to accomplish the simple task of watering the trees. Also, we haven’t been able to transplant new trees out of the seed beds because of a lack of water for mixing more soil. There are still seed beds of Jaboncillo, Guasmo, Tierramonte, and Guayaba that are ready for transplanting.


A cleared trail.

Anthony and Kathe digging holes.
Orlando, master machete wielder.

Here is an inventory of the trees at the greenhouse that are ready to be planted in the field as soon as possible:

Algarrobo     89
Bototillo     52
Cabo de Hacha       6
Cascol      3
Ceibo    403
Chirimoya  1,411
Guachepeli    535
Guayaba    641
Guayacan      12
Jaboncillo     562
Jaile     249
Pechiche     955
Seca     102
Tamarindo        1
Total  5,021

Of these tree species Chirimoya, Guayaba, and Pechiche are fruit trees. There are 3,007 of these three species, which means well over half of the trees we have this year are fruit producers.

While waiting for the rains to start and the ability to plant trees, we will continue to make progress with new site preparation.

Have a good holiday season.

          Pásalo bien,
                 Clay

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