Applied to all areas with a slope of between 18 and 30 degrees.
Something I loved as we toured through the orchards and permaculture systems of Walkers Reserve was the abundance of the wild forested areas. It seemed that, climbing out of each of the valleys, were thick stands of natural forests, with a large variety of trees and layers. These forests provided such a beautiful compliment to the orchards and pasture systems weaving throughout. I learned that the forest supports the project in many ways, and also gives back to Barbados and the world by providing an important habitat on an island where undisturbed forest is quickly disappearing.
- To stabilize the slope and reduce erosion.
- To establish native forest species to support the viability of sensitive and endangered natives on the island of Barbados and provide a habitat for native fauna.
- The slopes are too steep for people to regularly harvest, maintain or build on it.
- The steep slope, without proper design, implementation and monitoring, tends to lead to erosion problems.
- Successive and dense plantings of deep-rooted vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides), fast-growing legumes and native forest species, will quickly cover the soil and protect it from erosion.
- The area will be planted up in native forest, including endangered species, so as to support the long term genetics of the Bajan forests and to provide a habitat for native fauna.
- These areas are also quite difficult to work on, and thus the planting patterns suggested for such an area should be one that requires minimal long term maintenance.
- Generally, being located above the available catchment ponds, will allow for there to be little access to irrigation.
- Slopes in excess of 18 degrees are not suitable for most forms of earthworks, including swales and dams, so infiltration will need to be encouraged through the dense plantings of on-contour vetiver (Chrysopogon zizanioides) and living stakes.
- Over time, water filtration should increase as the forest develops and builds more organic matter.
- There is a multiple-phase plan for the planting of the site.
- In the first phase of planting, vetiver grass (Chrysopogon zizanioides) will be densely planted on contour, at every foot of elevation.
- Between every other row of vetiver, we will plant gliricidia (gliricidia sepium), leucaena (leucaena spp.), pigeon pea (Cajanus cajan) and other fast growing species to set shade and start the long term process of fixing nitrogen. These plants will also provide a medium term source for chop and drop mulch.
- After the pioneer species plantings have established themselves, we will come back in and plant the native forest species on the rows not yet planted.
- When pre-existing species are already established on site, these can be used to our advantage to help us achieve our goal.
- Utilize them as shade and windbreak for the more sensitive long term establishment species.
- As the native species start to establish themselves, we may choose to use some of the opportunistic species as chop and drop mulch for the forest species.
- Selecting thinning and pruning is appropriate to establish more valuable long term species.
- No earthworks are recommended here, as the slopes are too steep for effective earthworks.
- This pattern helps to connect various portions of the land with itself, and with the other surrounding land, in a number of ways:
- Wildlife corridors allow beneficial (and other) species to have safe passage to and from various locations around the land.
- The distribution of bits of wild native forest encourages native microbial life. This in turn helps the entire project to achieve better health.
- Native forest systems encourage birds. These birds play an important role in the distribution of seeds, by volunteering their help to ensure that our regeneration of Walkers Quarry is a success. Birds also play a contributing role via their supply of mineral rich manures.
- And finally, this pattern helps to connect Walkers Reserve with the global movement towards the re-establishment of native stands of trees for genetic diversity and global ecosystem health.
Phases of Development
- There is a multiple phase plan for the planting of the site.
- After the extraction processes are completed, we begin with the planting suggestions listed above at the onset of the rainy season.
- The idea with this area is that a minimal amount of long-term maintenance should be needed. In the interim however, some maintenance may be required to get to the desired long term native forest.
- The legume species should be chopped and dropped onto contour two or three times each rainy season, until the native species have started to dominate the zone.
- When the natives have started to take over, the legumes should be cut back to their base and laid down on contour. This should be repeated once a year until their growth is clearly no competition for the natives.