Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Baby trees, search for the cures

There is something special about looking across a field of 20 million tree seedlings. The vibe is obviously present in the 160 hectare nursery located just outside of Yumbel, in Region 8.  The magic of millions of trees growing side by side under detailed care by the hundreds of people that work to maintain high quality plants.  The energy of a nursery stems from the excitement of making growth. The detailed procedures that are conducted to produce the best results are critical to the survival and growth potential of  the millions of trees that are planted for Forestal Mininco´s plantations.  

The Carlos Douglas Vivero (Nursery), is where the baby trees come to life. They are the livelihood and sustainability of forestry for all of the company´s plantations in Chile. The nursery produces approximately 40 million seedlings annually! They use various techniques to produce these trees that will be planted throughout the country. The majority of their products are radiata pine, eucalyptus globulus, and eucalyptus nitens.  They also have a smaller stock on native plant species to contribute to local community projects and gardens.  The many acres and seed beds are rotated and closely managed for high quality and successful establishment.  Some fields are managed to produce sillage for organic matter.  This material is critical to the nutritional capacity of the soil matter.
The trees are established through a variety of methods, firstly through seeds or cuttings.  These come from mother plants grown on site or at the bio laboratory.  They can be in the form of plugs, with soil, or bareroot, grown in ground.  The pine seedlings gain sufficient growth in 8-12 months.  They are graded and groomed to a certain height and diameter.  The eucalyptus seedlings grow much faster and are ready after 6 months.  They are exclusively grown from seeds whereas other hybrid species are from cuttings.  They are planted in coconut fibers for further plant enhancement.

The nursery is managed by Forestal Mininco and work is conducted by over 300 contracted workers.  A workforce mostly of women, do the daily tasks of planting, sorting, moving, cutting, packaging, etc of maintaining the trees. The busy season starts up in April and May as colder weather sits in in Chile.  The packaging and transport of seedlings can last well in September depending on the weather patterns.  As the older seedlings leave the new sowing can begin as the space is freed up.  It is a constant rotation and shuffling of space and storage.

The nursery works closely with the tree improvement research conducted by Forestal Mininco researchers and labs.  Their goal is to improve the growth potential, tree form, and wood properties.  This project was started as a cooperative program in Chile in order to find the best genetic material among forest plantations.  They have improve volume gains 35% in the last 40 years.  The mission of plantations are to produce as fast as possible high quality and successful plantations.

The Carlos Douglas Nursery is an FSC, Forest Stewardship Council, certified operation. As a critical link in the CMPC production chain, the nursery follows certain procedures to ensure that their operation aligns with the guidelines required with this certification. In particular, it limits the use of chemicals that would otherwise limit weeds in bareroot production.  This leads to greater labor cost because it is instead done by hand.  The certification also encorporates strong engagement in the social issues for workers and surrounding communities.  While water use was not mentioned as a guideline for certification, the nursery is limited to water for its cost and amount aloud by the government.  The nursery monitors all water entering and exiting the system to maintain minimal impact on surrounding systems.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jessica, I aslo agree there is something special over a field of nursery plants. Really fun to se pictures and some insights about chiles forestry. Keep up the blog posting. Regards Forest tree breeder Andreas in Sweden