| Reforestation in the Pacific Islands |
|4. Project, species, and site selection|
Site selection should be a thorough, careful procedure. The two major types of sites to consider are nursery and planting sites. Some projects require both types of sites. For direct seeding projects, a nursery is not required.
Nursery sites should be centrally located and accessible to the planting sites. Adequate water is a high priority. Proximity to roads and quick transport is important, as prolonged exposure of seedlings and cuttings during transport must be avoided. It is a good idea to locate the nursery near a settled area so that it can be constantly supervised and maintained regularly. If pots are to be used for seedlings, soil can be prepared at the site and placed in the pots as needed. If cuttings are to be transplanted directly into the soil, the soil must be of high quality, rich and deep with good drainage. A soil with a crumbly texture is best, with a reasonable mix of sand and clay. Other points to consider are:
o The availability of local labor and materials for constructing fencing, sheds, etc.
o The need for protection from wind, animals, and people,
o Written permission from the owner of the land or the community for its use
o The need for a caretaker
o Sites with few weeds
o Sites not recently used as nurseries (to avoid pests and depleted soil)
o Sufficient size for the expected need, with extra room adjacent to the facility for possible expansion.
Many of these points are covered in detail in Chapter 5. (For more information, see FAO, 1977; FAO, 1980; and FAO, 1982.)
Planting sites require the forester to learn land use patterns and analyze environmental opportunities and constraints in the area. These factors will determine if trees are needed, where they are needed, and how they can best be used. The most common reasons for planting trees fall into two categories: protection/conservation and production.
For protection/conservation purposes, select a site that provides the best possible conservation results. Marginal lands or lands damaged by erosion can be greatly improved by tree planting. The site conditions will largely determine the types of tree species selected.
For production (food, fodder, fuel, etc.) a good site is necessary to maximize output. If farmers' fields are to be used, trees that work well w ith existing crops must be planted. Markets and transportation should be available on a regular basis. For forestry and community development purposes, using marginal and damaged land for production will allow both production and protection. There may be a need for both production and protection where ideal sites are not available for the type of trees specified by community and environmental needs.
As stated before, the community must be involved in the process of site selection. Other considerations involve permission (written) from the owner(s), agreements for maintenance and protection, and agreement on the techniques to be used.