Luta windbreakagroforestry project by accinent


									                                                                                                PROJECT REPORT h FARMER/RANCHER h SARE
                           Annual Results

                                FW01-091               Luta windbreak/agroforestry project
                                      Location:       Establish a dense, multi-row windbreak/shelterbelt that will protect fragile crops
                             Rota Island, Northern
                                          Marianas    from prevailing and seasonal wind damage and, at the same time, provide a
                                                      marketable crop.
                             Funding Period:
                       Apr. 15, 2001-Dec. 31, 2002    SUMMARY
                                                      Most cash crops of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI)
                                 Grant Award:
                                            $7,485    are susceptible to damage from wind or salt spray. Windbreaks can protect
                                                      fragile plants from damage, but planting windbreaks on the small farms (average
                        Project Coordinator:          of 1 hectare) can reduce productive farmland. To solve the problem, this SARE-
                                Ephram Taimanao       funded project planted fruit and nut trees that could protect banana plants from
                            Joe & Sons Enterprises    wind and salt and produce income at the same time.
                                     P.O. Box 887
                                  Rota, MP 96951
                                   (670) 532-0500     The banana plantation selected as the project area is on the island of Rota, 45
                                                      miles north of Guam, in a cliffside location exposed to prevailing northeast
                          Technical Advisor:          winds. The project team, with seedlings acquired from a local nursery, planted
                                     Scott Crockett   da’ok, a native typhoon-resistant tree that produces an oil-rich nut used in
                       NRCS Soil Conservationist
                                      P.O. Box 963    aromatherapy, and various citrus trees, the fruit from which can be sold at local
                                  Rota, MP 96951      grocery stores and restaurants. Despite poor soil quality that slowed growth, the
                                   (670) 532-9491     seedlings were growing well until disaster struck in the form of two typhoons.
                  The first, in July 2002, damaged or killed many of the plants. Just as the
                                        Jim Currie    survivors were recovering, a second, more fierce typhoon hit in December,
                              Extension Specialist    damaging or killing all of the plants
                        Northern Marianas College
                                     P.O. Box 879     Despite the setback, project coordinator Ephram Taimanao says that new
                                  (670) 532-9511
                          seedlings were planted in early 2003, although the dry season was approaching,
                                                      which may inhibit growth.

                                SPECIFIC RESULTS
                                The trees were planted in three or four rows, depending on topography, 12 to 15 feet apart at field
                                edges. Calophyllum inophyllum, commonly know as mast wood and called da’ok locally, was
                                planted as the primary row. It is typhoon resistant and, although it grows slowly, it can reach 30 feet,
                                providing excellent shade and wind protection. Various citrus trees were planted in the inside rows,
                                staggered to create a closed wall of leaves at maturity.

                                Soils are Dandan-Chinen complex characterized by slopes of 5-15%. Slopes on the windbreak layout
                                are 4-8%. The low-fertility soils were supplemented with 16-16-16 fertilizer, as advised by the local
                                forester. Soil depth along the cliff edge is shallow, but da’ok trees grow well in it. Soil depth
                                increases farther into the field, so the fruit trees were planted there between existing rows of banana
                                plants, sheltering the plants from wind and excessive sunlight. As the citrus trees matured, the
                                banana plants would be phased out leaving only healthy citrus.

                                As expected, seedling mortality was high – 40 to 50% – but acceptable for the site conditions, and
                                ample seedlings were available to replace dead trees. Because planting began during the rainy
                                season, mortality was attributed to soil and site conditions rather than a lack of moisture. Water was
                                supplied to trees near a water line, but was not available to all seedlings evenly.

                                On July 7, 2002, Typhoon Chata’an, with sustained winds of 85 mph and gusts of 125, caused
                                significant damage, some from large banana plants falling onto seedlings but most from salt spray.
                                Seedlings that survived began showing salt damage the second week after the storm.

                                                                                                            2003 i FW01-091 i 1
Dead and dying seedlings were replaced, but many seedlings in the temporary nursery were also damaged.
The da’ok seedlings fared better than the citrus because there were smaller and less susceptible to wind

On Dec. 8, 2002, Super Typhoon Pongsona, unseasonably timed and with wind speeds topping 185 mph,
struck just as the surviving seedlings were making a strong comeback from Chata’an five months earlier. A
few citrus trees were higher than 3 feet, and most of the da’ok were a foot and a half or less.

“Many seedlings were stripped from the ground, and those that remained were either stripped of leaves or
suffered shredded foliage,” says Taimanao. Because of the excessive damage to homes, offices and utilities,
project participants were preoccupied with recovery. The windbreak, in addition to wind damage, will have
suffered from salt damage, and because the island is entering the dry season, moisture will likely be
insufficient to flush salts from the ground or provide a boost to new seedlings.

The disaster will, however, allow the project team to assess which varieties might have survived better than
others for future plantings. In addition, the team is considering planting a primary row of Casuarina
equisetifolia, or ironwood, which provides a faster-growing windbreak.

“This violates our principle of planting only trees that produce a marketable product,” says Taimanao, “but
ironwood is fast growing, readily available and more salt-tolerant than citrus.” The ironwood may provide a
salt barrier until citrus trees are mature enough to withstand the harsh cliff line conditions.

With effective marketing, the income derived from value-added agroforestry products like da’ok oil could be
significant, exceeding that from row crops, although Taimanao says it will not supplant row-crop farming.

“The opportunity for local producers to supplement their income with high-value tree products may allow
more farmers to reduce their cultivated areas and afford better conservation practices for their land,” he says.
“The environmental benefits of the windbreaks may then go beyond simply wind protection and retained soil

Given the setbacks, it’s too early to assess the project’s success. The potential benefits of producing the
windbreaks remain to be seen, and Taimanao says the idea is still worth pursuing. To continue the project
beyond its original SARE funding date, an extension has been granted for evaluation and replanting.

                                                                                   2003 i FW01-091i 2

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