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Forest Service launches nursery and reforestation project in Mozambique

Inselberg near Alua, Nampula, Mozambique. Photo courtesy of Stig Nygaard.

MOZAMBIQUE – The week of December 3rd, horticulturist Charles Eckman, J.W. Toumey Nursery, Region 9, joined the International Programs office and a consultant in Milange, Mozambique. The team conducted trainings to launch a new model community nursery in partnership with local non-government organization Esperanca Para Novo Rebento. ESPANOR is a faith-based organization that initiated and implemented a range of community development programs in the area such as the creation of a primary school, vocational school, a village savings-and-loan program, an agriculture conservation program and agroforestry projects, including beekeeping.

During the training, various topics were covered, ranging from basic watering techniques and media mixtures, to propagation schedules and daily reporting. The discussions stimulated throughout each session enabled teams to work together to create a robust management plan for the nursery and problem solve, if necessary, any specific technical issues before fully beginning operations in May 2019.

The project began in March 2018 with an initial scoping visit to provide recommendations for the nursery site and initial trainings. The project will continue into 2019 with the first seeds to be sown in May following the rainy season. The nursery will integrate economic tree species with native forest species, aiming to promote forest conservation for long-term watershed health and community resilience. The long-term vision for the project is to launch a network of community nurseries that will contribute to community livelihoods and reforestation.

Milange District in Mozambique’s Zambézia Province is home to stunning inselbergs, the upper portions of which contain pocket forests with areas of high biodiversity. The areas around the inselbergs are largely deforested, with remaining forests under pressure as people continue to move back to the area in the years following Mozambique’s civil wars and persist with unsustainable land use practices, including slash-and-burn agriculture.

ESPANOR staff learn about and practice mixing growing media at one of the trainings offered in Miozambique. USDA Forest Service photo by Jonathan Palmrose.

Practicing measuring and weighing growing media in reusable containers at a training event in Mozambique. USDA Forest Service photo by Jonathan Palmrose.

Training participants pose with Charles Eckman, J.W. Toumey Nursery, and Becca Lieberg, a consultant on the project, in front of the newly constructed nursery structure in Mozambique. USDA Forest Service photo by Jonathan Palmrose.