Thursday, May 08, 2008
My mahogany trees, continued
The first 50 mahogany trees (Swietenia macrophylla) I planted was back in 2001, a donation of seedlings by Dr. Paulo Sérgio Pimentel, a local physician and the administrator of SUDAM, Sr. Barrosa. I mean to tell you that it's not easy to plant fifty trees when they're being planted in an area that's already in trees - of one seize or other. By 2001, I had already learned that it was a lost cause to plant new trees along the Bosque trail system, or in the forest. Seedlings need sun, and lots of it. I lost hundreds of seedlings trying the impossible. So in the case of the mahogany seedlings, I got "smart" by clearing some 10 meters alongside the dirt road running through the Bosque. Perfect for the situation. Over the next four years I planted a total of approximately 250 mahoganies. The cost of keeping them relatively clean of brush was more than I could afford, but at least they were planted and with time they would find their place in the world. In the meanwhile I received another rather large donation of seedlings from Drs. Carlos and Marilha Godinho, which were also planted along the road. Again, there were times when the poor things were almost suffocated by the forest moving in on them. To make a long story short, I lost most of these trees because of the construction of a power line that brought electricity into the communities along the road. As reported earlier, CELPA required a whopping 15 meters of clearing in order to protect the line from falling trees. And clearly, they needed it. In more recent times a tree was blown over by a high wind, which destroyed 7 concrete poles and left the three cables on the ground. Maybe I could have delayed the construction of the power line because the Bosque is a "green" area, but I would have been on considered an obstruction to progress by the local populations, who have fought for decades to get electricity. The attached image shows one of the first mahogany trees to be planted in 2001. More coming, including an explanation of the "killer birds".