|Special Public Works Programmes - SPWP - Planting Trees - An Illustrated Technical Guide and Training Manual (ILO - UNDP, 1993, 190 p.)|
|1. Planning a plantation|
The choice of species is a most important and difficult decision to make. The choice depends primarily on three basic questions, which should be asked in the following order:
- what do the owners/beneficiaries of the project want from the plantation?
- what species are available that will produce what the people want?
- will these species grow on the sites available?
For soil conservation, for example, fast-growing species with an extensive root system are preferable. They quickly cover and bind the soil, protecting it from rain and wind. A plantation aimed primarily at construction poles or timber will require trees with relatively heavy, durable wood and a straight stem. For fodder production, ample leaf and seed production are essential and good regrowth after coppicing and browsing. If you grow trees together with agricultural crops or to rehabilitate wasteland, leguminous varieties (for example, the Acacia family) would be a good choice because of their soil-improving ability. (Most leguminous and some other tree species can extract nitrogen from the air with the help of little nodules on their roots. They then add nitrogen to the soil when the leaves fall off). Multipurpose tree species may combine a variety of different uses.
If local, indigenous, tree species, that you know grow well in the area, are available, it may be safer to use them than to try other, exotic ones. It is essential to select species that will be able to survive the first crucial years, that will withstand the environmental conditions on the specific site and that are easy to handle both in the nursery and in the field. Good coppicing ability (i.e. putting out new shoots from the stump after cutting) may be a special advantage.
What species to establish
What is the purpose of the plantation?
What species are available that will produce what people want?
Will these species grown on the site available?