This season, our second season since our founding in 2019, we are ready to triple the amount of seedlings planted, compared to last year. With your help, we will plant 287.000 seedlings this October and November and another 150.000 in April 2022.
We are able to achieve this because the pine seeds we have sown in April 2020 are now ready. We have a total of 200.000 beautiful two-year old pine seedlings ready to be planted. We will also plant 76.000 deciduous saplings and 11.000 shrubs that are ready to go in both nurseries and we will do direct sowing of 150.000 acorns.
This is a huge number and at the same time it is modest when compared to what really needs to be done if we want to substantially increase forest coverage.
We will hire a total of 90 workers. 30 for planting in Shirakamut and 60 for Jrashen 1.
If all goes well, the entire surface of Jrashen 1 will be covered by young saplings by the end of April 2022.
New measures to improve our reforestation effort
As was exposed before, the challenges to reforestation are great. The exceptional spell of dry weather we had in June was a wake-up call. We decided to take a few measures to put all the chances in our favour for the next planting season.
Thanks to the expert advice of Giovanni Sala, an Italian botanist, we have decided to add zeolite in each of the planting holes. Zeolite is a natural volcanic product that has the interesting property of retaining humidity. By adding a handful of zeolite at the bottom of each hole it will help the young roots with more moisture. In case of a dry spell, the extra humidity could make a big difference in the plant survival rate. We ordered 10 tons of zeolite in bags of 25 kg and they are being delivered to the afforestation sites.
We will also tighten the planting procedures. We have bought 100 jute potato bags, and will give the seedlings to be planted in a moist bag to each worker so that the bare roots are not exposed to sun or wind during the planting activity.
Finally, we have already bought and stored 600 bales of hay near the afforestation site. After planting in April, workers will directly put the mulch around the saplings. This year, mulch has greatly helped in retaining moisture in the ground. However, it was put in late May. By putting it earlier, we should have even better results.
Whether we like it or not, we are now in the middle of the climate crisis. We want to be prepared as much as possible for dry periods to help the roots of the young seedlings so that plants can survive and grow.
Reforestation is definitely not an easy task. The important part comes after planting, with maintenance, careful monitoring and taking appropriate actions when need be.
Seed Collection 2021
This year we have organised three week-ends of seed collection with volunteers. On Saturday 25 September, we made our first trip to the Tavush region in the Barepat forest. Although it had rained heavily the day before, the weather was perfect. With 12 people, we collected 121 kg of acorns. That is about 24,000 acorns. We took care of carefully selecting them and rejected those that were already taken over by a worm. We will sow half of them in our nurseries and the other half directly in the afforestation site.
My Forest Armenia is growing
Our present office of 20 m2 had become too small. As more companies and individuals are starting to support us, we hired two more staff in September and we need another two to tackle the increasing workload. We thus moved to a bigger space of 45m2.
We have also added an additional regional staff to supervise and manage the operations in the fields. We have now 28 workers taking care of seedlings and shrubs in the nurseries.
This month and the next your donations will go directly to pay workers to plant seedlings into the ground. Please help us plant as many trees as possible by making a donation now. If you want to help the long term growth of reforestation, become a monthly donor. This will allow us to have a steady income and make better planning for the future. Reforestation is an activity that has to be prepared 18 months in advance.
We will increase our forests if everyone participates!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!