Monday, January 09, 2017

Mango trees prepared for flower induction

After about five years of little or zero mango harvest because of the new pest "kurikong manga" (cecid fly), we hope to have some harvest this year. A sprayer has come along, they will get 70% of the harvest, the farm owner/s will get 30%. Fair sharing because it is very labor-intensive and costly to spray mangos.

They started spraying for flower induction in some areas that have been cleared, about two weeks ago. Another batch of mango trees to be sprayed this week perhaps as more trees are cleared of tall and thick cogons, other grasses and vines.

I took these photos of the farm last Saturday.

About four men worked here, using the mechanical grass cutter and manual cutting with "tabas".

They burn the grasses around 6am when it is not hot nor windy, the fire can easily be controlled. Late morning, more windy and the fire may spread beyond control.

No mango flowers yet, the flowers come out some three weeks after spraying the flower induction.

Here's one mango tree surrounded by wild trees, tall grasses and vines. These must be cut and removed before spraying can be done.

New and thick rock barrier

Last Saturday, I visited the farm and I planned to build a rock barrier on a depression that becomes a small stream during the rainy months. We have already built a water diversion during flash flood, see previous two postings. Strong water flow will be divided into two and hence, water force will be weaker.

This new structure will trap eroded soil, organic matter during flash flood. Photos before and after. Done with 3 men helping, we did it in about 3 hours.

Back view, before and after.

Top view, huge + medium-size rocks in the front, smaller rocks behind. About 3 1/2 ft high, 2+ ft width at the base.

Some of those huge rocks will need 2-3 men to push them up the barrier, cannot be lifted. Photo below, from left: Danny, Anoling, Nong Endring, the caretaker.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Terraces Beside Narra Trees, Part 3

Some old photos here as I failed to regularly update this blog.

July 2016. A portion was eroded by flash flood weeks earlier.

Gathered stones, built a 3-layer protection from further erosion, done.

At the back of those terraces are old, decomposing old leaves, branches, other organic materials.

We cleaned up and cut those small trees that regenerated on their own and are too close to each other. Piled them at the back of the stone terrace.

August 2016. It was raining when I visited one weekend that month. Good, I saw how water and eroded organic matter is trapped behind those stones.

This mild current can become huge, strong and violent during a flash flood.

September 2016. Not raining when I visited one weekend that month, but the temporarily-impounded water and organic matter are visible, nice.

A small, cute mini-water falls.

The water exits between those rocks, or seep under the soil and come out in trickles like spring water under the roots of this narra tree.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Terraces Beside Narra Trees, Part 2

Here are updated photos as of last weekend, April 24, 2016.
Earlier photos are posted in Terraces Beside Narra Trees, May 10, 2015.

Before and after we cleared the dried leaves; also repaired the misaligned stones.

And we added a new, 2nd layer of stones and small rocks on the main barrier. Remember that this used to be a small waterway, now totally blocked by a wide layer of stones to control soil erosion and minimize flash flooding. Some of flash flood water will be temporarily impounded by this structure, the excess water will simply overflow above the stones, or between these stones.

A thick layer of new and old leaves were deposited behind these stones. They won't go down the creek anymore, they will decompose there, to become new rich and organic top soil within weeks.

The cleared areas of dried leaves. Some small and young trees that are too close to each other were also removed.

Clearing thick dried leaves in a wide area also discourage some large creepers and crawlers like snakes from staying in the area as they have little cover.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Numbering the trees, part 2

April 9, 2016

Here are additional photos sent last week by Danny, in photo and the son of long time farm caretaker Nong Endring Paragas. This area is the gmelina part, far from my treehouse and are in the uplands already.

There is frequent stealing and unauthorized cutting of gmelina trees here, by charcoal makers and lumber sellers. Nong Endring is old enough to visit and watch this place regularly because of its distance plus the thick and tall cogons that get "cleaned" only if there is a big fire in the mountains. Danny helps but not everyday.

On the left, one of those gmelina trees that were cut by thieves, then grew to many new trunks. Danny numbered 5 of such trunks as they are at least 8 inches thick dbh. Middle and right, some of the big mahogany trees near the treehouse.

From the gmelina area, below is the burned area of the farm and further below it, not visible in the pictures, are the rich field, treehouse, and mahogany areas. Shows how far some of the gmelina area are and hence, difficult to monitor and guard, that's where many thieves come to cut and steal the trees.

April 16, 2016

More photos from Danny, courtesy of  my inaanak, Harjie Paragas. Thanks Harjie.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Grass fire, part 2

March 24, 2016

There was a big forest and grassfire that started in the public forest land last March 16 and ended the next day. The fire spread to other areas including near the upland dumpsite and materials recovery facility (MRF), various private farms. This is part of our farm, the fire did not cross the creek.

Ground view of the grass fire. Bad news because the fire affected many trees, although most of them will survive and regrow new leaves. Good news because the cogon, other grasses, vines there were very thick already that only a grassfire or huge grass cutters can remove them.

It used to be a rice field that Nong Endring cultivated for several years. Now that Nong Endring is old and he cannot till this wide area anymore, tall grasses have invaded the area.

This used to be the area of Fernando's house. He was not working for us, he just put a small house there and slept there at night, at day time he does many things outside the farm. I gave him a modest allowance for guarding the farm at night.

Thick layers of burned cogon and other grasses.

This used to be the cage for our chicken in the farm. Note the slightly elevated land via one layer of stone terrace.

Burned hose.

April 15, 2016

These are photos sent by Danny today. The affected trees in the upland in the grass and forest fire last month.


See also:
On Grass Fire, April 17, 2014
Denuded mountains, March 31, 2009
From Forestland to Grassland, September 21, 2012  

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Numbering the trees

We started numbering the various forest tree species in the farm, at least those that are about 5 inches or wider in diameter at breast height (dbh). Danny is in charge of this work. First he used white paint, but it was not visible enough, so he bought blue paint, now more visible.

Those that are at least 8 inches dbh and are harvestable are numbered 01 to 80+, as of last Saturday, March 19 when I visited the farm. Those that are 5-8 inches dbh are numbered 101 to 580+ as of last Saturday.

There are tens of thousands of trees in the farm, mostly mahogany in the lowland, followed by gmelina in the upland, then some eucalyptus, acacia auri and acacia mangium, narra. There are many local and endemic species like molave, karael, etc.

These are planted mahogany trees about 7-8 years ago perhaps. They are standing on rocky soil so they cannot grow fast and big but they are able to survive and thrive.

No big and mature tree that produce seeds yet, so there are no naturally growing trees yet and hence, the spacing is maintained. Once a big tree will produce seeds and scatter them, this area will look "chaotic" with thousands of new saplings growing every year in between those bigger trees.

The old canal that diverted part of the water in the creek into the other side, via a small dam and 3 hoses.

When trees of different ages grow, they look like this. This is between the well-spaced trees above, and the rice field near my treehouse.

Danny will be numbering the gmelina trees in the area that got burned two weeks ago. He will need an extra worker to assist him as Nong Endring is already old to walk and work long in far out areas of the farm,

See also:
Trees in the Farm, Part 3, February 11, 2013Trees in the farm, Part 4, June 23, 2015
Trees in the farm, Part 5, October 13, 2015