Nursery Beginnings

Nursery Beginnings

ACRAA Nursery: The Beginning

ACRAA was just an idea until, in late 2019 and early 2020, two lots (side-by-side) were purchased by Thor in Alter do Chão. And the first thing we had to do is clear the jungle which has overgrown these properties. The photos below show Diego and Daki helping with this work in early 2020; the three of us really did start this together. Note also that the photo at the top-left shows where the nursery is now.

With a small makeshift germination bed in one corner of the property, the ACRAA nursery began at the same time. This with the germination of the first seeds of a tree species know locally as Comandá. These seeds were collected from trees growing on the beaches of Alter do Chão, including the Ilha do Amor. Thor led this early endevour until he returned to Canada in June 2020, but the work was continued by Diego and Daki – who through the remainder of this year (2020) cared for the first 100 or so Comandá seedlings that resulted – these for use in the future restoration of Alter’s beaches.

The initial nursery area [1] was small, only 20 square meters, and the water used to sustain these plants was obtained through hours arduous manual pumping from an existing artesian well on the property. During this period Daki and Diego also propagated seeds from a number of the regional fruit producing trees, these for use in our future agroforestry and urban afforestation projects. As such the seedlings produced by ACRAA were divided early on into two main categories – 1) trees/plants for ecological restoration/reforestation, and 2) trees/plants for use in agroforestry development.

Thor returned to Alter do Chão in January of 2021 for a three month stay, and with Diego’s and Daki’s help the collection and germination of seeds from from the local beaches continued. This included more Comandá, but also other species. Our inventory of agroforestry trees also continued to grow, with medicinal plants and trees important for timber also included. As a result,  during this period the nursery was expaneded again – now to a total area of 70 square meters. A water tower/system with a solar powered pump was also installed during this period. See here.

From April until December 2021 Thor was again in Canada. However our inventory of ecological restoration and agroforestry plants kept growing – both in terms of the numbers of plants & species, and in terms of the size of the stock. By the end of 2021 many of our first Comandá were now up to a meter and a half in height (or more)[2], as were some of the agroforestry trees.

[1] The “nursery area” is defined as that area under shade cloth (50% shade). This protection for fragil young seedlings is essential under the intense tropical sun here.

[2] It is the intent to grow very large stock, up to 2 m+ in height, for planting on Alter’s heavily used beaches.

2022 Nursery Expansion

Thor returned to Alter do Chão at the end of 2021, and work commenced almost immediately with a second expansion of our nursery – this time bringing the total nursery area to it’s present size of 250 square meters. The area for this expansion had to first be cleared and leveled, this also meaning moving about ten fruit trees planted there two years earlier. This work was completed in early March 2022.

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