Hi. In the one area of Haiti where we are working, the people depend on charcoal production for income. I’m looking for any information or experience on direct seeding fast growing forestry trees.
Mesquite bayawonn (Prosopis juliflora), Kasya (Senna siamea), and Neem nim (Azadirachta indica) are popular charcoal trees in Haiti. All will resprout when cut, so can be managed by coppicing. Prosopis is a legume and is nitrogen fixing. Senna is a legume but is not nitrogen fixing. Neem leaves are used against insects.
Nursery growing of seedlings is generally preferable to direct seeding.
This might also be of interest:
Hey Mike, In Kenya I direct seeded a line of Leucaena to see how it worked. It actually did very well. If you have seed to spare and a way to protect the very small seedlings, and labor to weed them for a year or so then direct seeding should work. Some trees will have seedlings naturally sprouting under them (wildlings) that can be transplanted.
In addition to Bob and Roberts comments which are great input… A lot depends on the area in which you are planting. Direct seeding has some advantages in survival rate after they germinate if planted at the beginning of a/the rainy season but germination and survival can be low compared to that in a nursery which affords better growth conditions due to access to regular watering and improved soil so it depends on how expensive or available the seed and how well you prepare the seed bed and whether or not you place thin layer of mulch or composted material (helps hold moisture) above the seed and how dispersed the rain events are. Weed control can be an issue and I like Roundup or glyphosate for control.
Part of my post timed out so I am adding this… Also I don’t believe it is best for a tree to be coppiced if you are looking for long-term biomass for charcoal. I believe that the FMNR system has some advantages if you train a tree into three or four scaffolds you can remove one every year or every other year and choose a vigorous water sprout to fill in the void. This way you never have the tree sloughing off a major portion of its root system to grab nutrients for regrowth which is a huge setback for a tree when it experiences coppicing. Consider cropping between the trees and also planting the trees at closer spacing on contour lines with perennial clumping grasses or vetiver grass between on steeper slopes (check gullying between trees). May also consider intercropping trees that bears edible fruit (one without a lot of disease problems) and prune the other trees around to favor space for the fruit tree. For nursery production, best on raised beds but not high in nitrogen because a slower growing tree will survive better. Some water stress can be beneficial in the nursery to harden the tree off. In the nursery, root pruning and retransplanting can be helpful if planting in environments that are marginal if you decide to go that route.
Great point Peter. Your suggested system might be called “rotational coppicing on a single tree basis”.