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close this book Forestry training manual Inter-America Region
View the document Information collection & exchange
View the document Acknowledgements
View the document Trainer guidelines
Open this folder and view contents Training program overview
View the document Forestry observation guide for site visit
Open this folder and view contents Getting ready
View the document Conducting the training program
View the document Weekly evaluation form
View the document Session I day one
View the document Daily schedule for technical training
View the document Session II special projects
View the document Session III The forest of the world, peace corps forestry goals, the individual volunteers' roles
View the document Session IV Language class
View the document Session V Exercise I: Record keeping
View the document Session VI Exercise II
View the document Session VII Flowers, seeds, the beginning
View the document Session VIII Spanish language class
View the document Session IX Non-verbal communication
View the document Session X Basic site selection, planning and layout of a nursery
View the document Session XI Spanish language class
View the document Session XII Cultural values
View the document Session XIII Soil preparation, seed bed sowing, and reproduction by clippings
View the document Session XIV Spanish language
View the document Session XV Communication through illustration
View the document Session XVI Fertilizers, watering and containers
View the document Session XVII Spanish language
View the document Session XVIII Protection and record keeping
View the document Session XIX Individual interviews
View the document Session XX Planting trees
View the document Session XXI Spanish language session
View the document Session XXII Introduction to extension
View the document Session XXIII The principals of pruning and thinning
View the document Session XXIV Spanish language
View the document Session XXV Volunteer's role as an extensionist
View the document Session XXVI Pacing, plane table, rustic transit and compass
View the document Session XXVIII Spanish language
View the document Session XVIII Forestry extension
View the document Session XXIX Forest menstruation
View the document Session XXX Spanish language
Open this folder and view contents Session XXXI Working with groups as an extension worker
View the document Session XXXIII Spanish language
View the document Session XXXIV Lesson plan and use of visual aids in teaching
View the document Session XXV Small research projects
View the document Session XXXVI Individual interviews
View the document Session XXXVII Soils
View the document Session XXXVIII Spanish language
View the document Session XXXIX Community analysis introduction
View the document Session XL Soil erosion
View the document Session XLI Spanish language
View the document Session XLIII Watershed management
View the document Session XLIV Spanish language
View the document Session XLV Review of expectations - mid way
View the document Session XLVI Spanish language
View the document Session XLVII Species report
Open this folder and view contents Session XLVIII Forestry issues
View the document Session XLIX Spanish language
View the document Session L Field trip overview
View the document Session LI Ecology teams give presentations
View the document Session LII Individual interviews
View the document Session LIII Review of field trips
View the document Session LIV Project planning: goal setting
View the document Session LV Spanish language
View the document Session LVI Resources
View the document Session LVII Compost heap - insect collection - light gaps
View the document Session LVIII Spanish language
View the document Session LIX Cultural shock - are we ready for it?
View the document Session LX Grafting and fruit trees
View the document Session LXI Spanish language
View the document Session LXII Professional approaches to interaction with host country officials
View the document Session LXIII Final interviews
View the document Session LXIV Graduation

Session LVII Compost heap - insect collection - light gaps

Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes


- To observe the results of the compost heap, prepared the first week.

- Use compost as top dressing (mulch in nursery).

- To aid trainees in obtaining a better understanding of tropical foresty dynamics.

- To give trainees familiarization and practical experience in the collecting of insects (for purposes of sending in insect/pest identification and possible control measures).


During this session, three unrelated technical forestry exercises are undertaken. The compost heap started in week one is now ready for use. Trainees need to know the best way for collecting insects for identification and pest control measures. Lastly, light yaps, a key to tropical forest dynamics, is a process of which trainees need to he aware.


1. The compost heap

2. Light gaps lecture

3. Insect collection and identification.

Materials: Flip charts, marker pens, tape, compost heap (four weeks +) clear glass bottles (four ounces and under), alcohol, plastic bags (hand size).

Exercise I Compost Heap

Total Time: 1 hour


Composting is any process which facilitates or speeds up the natural break-clown' process of decomposition. One of the trainees who has started a compost heap in the first days of training now presents a lecture. The trainees then go to the compost heap. Using compost as mulch for the seedlings, the trainees spread it on seed beds.




½ hour

1. Trainee who has started compost heap as special project gives lecture on hour starting compost heap. Answers questions from other trainees (See "The 30 Day Hot Compost System").

½ hour

2. Trainees now go to compost heap and (if ready), it can be used as mulch for seedlings in the river that they planted during the first week.


Composting is any process which facilitates or speeds up the natural breakdown process of decomposition. There are many forms of comporting; some involve combining many types of materials that require long periods of time to break down. Times vary from three weeks to several years. The method that will be covered here is a 30 day or "Hot Compost" method. This is a system using high temperatures (up to 170°F) and frequent turnings to achieve a fast usable compost in 30 days. Several advantages to using Hot Compost include:

1) high temperatures eliminate weed seeds, disease and insect eggs,

2) quick usable compost is available in just 30 days.

Many believe that comporting is a complicated and time-consuming process. This assumption can he over-come if a couple of basic principles are understood.

(1) A hot compost has to be properly mixed with the correctly matched materials. In other words, don't just toss in any old thing. While putting together a compost pile a helpful guideline to remember is the "Carbon:Nitrogen" ratios. The C:N ratio is the amount of brown or dried stalky materials (carbon source) that are mixed to the amount of green leafy or fresh materials (nitrogen source). A well balanced compost pile usually has a C:N ratio of 1:12 (1 part carbon to 12 parts nitrogen). It is important to maintain this ratio because a pile with too much carboncontaining materials and not enough nitrogen just will not heat up to achieve the 170° F temperature you want in your compost. A pile with too large or a disproportionate amount of nitrogen means nitrogen lost needlessly to the atmosphere in the form of NO2 gas (ammonia). Organic materials high in nitrogen are any type of fresh green material (i.e., fresh grass clippings, fresh young weed cuttings) or any type of animal manure; the best or "hottest" being chicken manure. Another source is kitchen scraps: coffee grounds or waste seeds (i.e., grape seed are especially hot). Materials high in carbon are usually brown dryed plant materials (i.e., leaves, dryed grass or straw, dryed weeds, saw dust or wood shavings).

(2) Watch compost pile temperatures. Get a good soil thermometer to measure temperatures. One with a long stem is most useful. A good pile will heat up to 110°F within 24 hours of being mixed. Within 3 days it should be up to 125°F. If it does not heat up within the first 3 days take it apart and start over. Each time the pile temperature begins to drop (every 4 - 5 days) it will be time to turn and mix the pile again. After a while the pile will not heat up more than 100-110°F no matter how much you mix it. At this point the compost can be used as is or may be left till it achieves a fine crumbly texture.

(Fig. 72)

Fig. 63

(3) TURNING THE PILE. The first turning is the heaviest, and most time-consuming, but if it is done right the rest will be easy. Once the pile is put together and has heated up correctly to 120°F or so it might maintain this temperature until about day 5 or 6, then will begin to drop. At this point, take a pitch fork and move the pile. while rebuilding it, mix all the materials that were on the outside into the center of the pile, so that they will heat up this time. Also break up large pieces of organic material with a machete or maddock so they will be broken down quickly. After this first turning the mixing should not involve anything more than a 1/2 hour of tossing the pile from one spot to another with a pitch fork and shovel.

(4) The time to think about the amount of moisture percentage in the pile is while your are putting it together. Sometimes a pile will not need any added water other than the natural moisture contained in the compost material. An example of this would be fresh green materials (grass clippings). A good rule of thumb for determining correct moisture content in the pile is that the material should feel like a squeezed out sponge. It should not, however, release water if very tightly squeezed. If water is required it should be judiciously applied to each layer as the pile is being built, rather than watering it from the top after the pile is all put together. Remember: too much water can drown a pile and not enough water can retard bacterial growth and the pile will not heat up.

(5) AIR: Composting is an aerobic process. Soil microbes need oxygen to develop. Try to avoid building the pile higher than four feet, otherwise poles layered horizontally in the pile will be required to aid air circulation. Care should also be taken while building the pile to ensure that fine materials (i.e., grass clippings) are not layered too thickly, to prevent matting which will form a barrier to air circulation.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: start the pile with a 5 inch thick layer of leaves to provide good drainage. Next layer should be 2" of grass clippings, loosening it up to keep it from matting down. On top of this sprinkle a mixture of top soil and organic manure. This will increase the nitrogen content some and inoculate the pile with soil microbes (the power house of the compost pile). If kitchen scraps are available they can also be added here. Water each layer lightly - if needed. Now repeat the whole process until all your materials are used up.

Compost is the back bone of my nursery and home garden. Once you begin to use it, it becomes invaluable. Be patient. I have yet to meet the person whose first pile heated up properly. But with time and practice, you can expect much in return for little invested.

Peace Corps Volunteer Bob Simeone

authored the above section.

Insect Collection

Total Time: 50 Minutes


Trainees need to know the proper methods of collecting insects for identification. In addition, trainees need practical experience in collecting insects for the purpose of sending in insects for pest identification and possible control measures.





1. Trainee who has taken insect collection as a special project presents a brief lecture and demonstrates insect collection, using the following procedure:

20 minutes


A. Catching


1. with hands and plastic bays,


2. coffee jars with alcohol,


3. killing jars with acetate,


4. KCN (not recommended),


5. insect collecting net made using a stick, a coat hanger and a piece of mosquito netting.


B. Preserving


1. mounting with pins,


2. paints on pins for small insects,


3. mounting butterflys (spreading wings),


4. in glycerine, alcohol or formaldehyde,


5. accompanying the insect specimen, the date, location and name of collector should be noted. This is often put on a small piece of paper which is placed on the pin mounting the insect.

1/2 hour

2. Trainees now go outside and practice collecting insects. They use only glass hour jar with alcohol method during this exercise.


Fig 74

Exercise III Light Gaps

Total Time: 20 minutes


This short lecture is to give trainees a better understanaing of more of the dynamics of the tropical forests.




20 minutes

1. Technical trainer gives lecture using following outline.

OUTLINE - Light Gaps

Light gaps

one of the most important keys to understanding tropical forest dynamics. Large trees fall over and knock down other trees with them resulting in a gap in the forest canopy (light gap). In these gaps, surrounding trees will spread their crowns out horizontally at the same time pioneer species or light gap species will take advantage of these openings and will begin rapid growth.

Gap species

could be existing seedlings in the understory or viable seeds in the forest which could germinate.

With the falling over of a large tree, several different micro-environments are created:

(1) exposed minerals in the soil where the tree was rooted.

(2) roots of the tree with atttached soil.

(3) surrounding areas opened to sunlight.

(4) dense, large areas where the tree crown is laying on the ground.

Different species will occupy each of these different environments.

A further study of light gaps and their relation to the dynamics of a tropical forest will enable us to better our understanding and our ability to develop workable forest management plans for tropical forests.