Appropedia needs your support - Please Donate Today
Reforestation at Pedregal
Forests help stabilize soil, prevent erosion into water ways, and slows water flow from rain so that there is increased time for percolation into aquifers as well as offering many other ecosystem services. To regenerate ecosystems it is useful imitate nature: plant native plants - not only trees but also shrubs and herbs - and to encourage natural regeneration in places that are not too damaged. In other highly deteriorated areas Pedregal starts by stabilizing the soil before planting any tree. The reforestation plan includes how to care for the plants as well as how to irrigate them when planting. This is one project in a series of soil conservation, groundwater recharge, and farming demonstration projects at Pedregal a Permaculture Demonstration Center in San Andres Huayapam, Mexico.
Social Aspects of Re-vegetation Planning:
A common error in reforestation programs is that they forget to promote the participation of all possible social groups and the only thing focused on is the planting of trees. This can especially be seen when the planning and planting is done by the military, volunteer groups, or forced labor groups. The consequence of this is that often the plants are injured or improperly planted and are often abandoned later with no monitoring or maintenance.
In reforestation planning it is usually necessary to include at least the 3 following groups: governmental groups (providing money, plants, or labor groups through military or social service), local communities and civil associations involved (in the adoption, planting, and aftercare of plants), and a technical advisory group (to propose the species, time and reforestation techniques).
Possibilities to ensure Local Participation in Reforestation & Aftercare:
- Delivering plants after an agreement in which the family or community association agrees to care for them.
- Offer conferences, workshops, and courses on sustainable harvesting from the forest and make agreements on sustainable harvesting in exchange for delivering plants for reforestation.
- Delivering fruit trees along with other plants intended to recover the forestland, the fruit trees not only provide soil cover they also give direct benefits to the local community through food, giving more incentive to people to continue to care for plants.
- Grant credits for acquiring or offer to construct wood-saving stoves in exchange for community participation in the transplant and care of trees for wood and fruit production.
- Promotion of saving wood and water and gray water treatment for irrigation of fruit trees and ornamental plants. 
Benefits of Reforestation
- sustain food resources by reducing erosion and thus preserving the top soil
- in arid regions, trees also have the ability to raise the water table, as well as preserve the soil moisture and moderate temperatures thus reducing desertification.
- Fruits, nuts, or forest animals attracted to the tree can also make up an important part of our diet
- Sequestration of Carbon dioxide as the tree transforms carbon in the air into biomass (including leaves, trunk,etc).
- Preserves habitat for wildlife
For more on the benefits of reforestation go to Plant It
The selection depends on the objectives, location and availability of plants, among other things. In general it is convenient to use a considerable variety of species, preferably local or at least adapted to the place. The use of exotic species such as eucalyptus and casuarina, prevents the restoration of vegetation local to the place and can create environmental problems from its large consumption of water and rapid growth. When choosing plants for reforestation choosing those in relation to each other and the local land is an important aspect of the design.
The following is an example of plant species fit for the Central Valleys of Oaxaca:
- At 1600 to 2500m altitude, where the type of vegetation is a forest of oaks. Pedregal has planted local varieties of oaks (Quercus spp), acacia (Acacia spp) and bursera or palo mulato (Bursera bipinnata).
- At 2500 to 2750, where forests of pines and oaks grow, the local trees planted by Pedregal include: teocotes (Pinus spp.), local oaks, strawberry trees (arbutus granulosa), alder (Alnus acuminata) and romerillos (Pseudosuga).
- Above the 275m pine forests dominate naturally. Pedregal has planted pine trees, strawberry trees and alder as well as other inhabitants in their different elevations including: nanche gourd (Malphigia), zompantle (Erythrina), cazahuate (Budleja), poinsettia (Euphorbia), wild guava, acacia (Acacia), May flower (Plumeria), copal (Bursera), plum Creole (Spondias), bald cypress (Taxodium), manual leon (Oreophanax), sweetgum (Liquidambar) cuajilote (Paramenteria), mesquite (Prosopis). 
Local shrubs and succulent plants
Huizaches, sagebrush, bromeliads, and cacti (organos, nopal, agave, barrel cactus, lettuce cactus, and perezquia).
Non-local ornamental plants and fruit
Avocado, hawthorn, nancy, apple, quince, peach, lemon, orange, fig, mandarin, banana, mango, mamey, coffee, pomegranate, poplar, cassava, jacaranda, paradise, papaya, laurel, and many more have been planted.
- Lopex, Laura. L., Esteva, Gustavo., Consejo, Juan J., Padilla, Eugenio., Robles, Marcela., and Alejandre, Virginia. Defensa Ecologica: Manual de Tecnicas. 2a. edition. Oaxaca, 1998.