Saturday, August 30, 2014

Terraces, Part 10

I went back to the farm last weekend, August 26-27. As usual, I pursued my hobby -- building new terraces, or expanding existing ones. New and dried leaves, branches behind these stones, they later decompose and become natural fertilizers to the trees.

It's an agro-forest farm and we realize lately that we can earn more from tree farming than mango or banana farming. The "kurikong manga" or cecid fly has wiped out mango harvests the past 3 years. This year, no mango spraying again, hence no mango harvest and income for four years straight now, as the pests are still around.

Selling lumber + uling/charcoal from the pruned branches gives us monthly revenues that pay for the monthly salary of our two caretakers there, plus some extra. This part used to have high or dense number of young trees, sunlight can hardly penetrate. As a result, they hardly grow big' plus there are many mosquitoes. Our caretakers removed many of the small trees, now sunlight can penetrate somehow.

The small and medium-size trees easily grow bigger and taller once the big and mature trees beside them are harvested. They have more sunlight, more soil minerals. It is now a perennial forest with selective logging as sustainable revenue source.

Here is an example of before-after the stones terraced, upper and lower photos respectively. Some exposed roots will soon be covered by rich topsoil.

The terraces are soil + water conservation measures combined. I notice that if the terrace is high and strong, it controls or even stops flash flooding. Instead of the rainwater coming down fast, it is stopped temporarily and impounded by the organic matter and soft soil at the back of those stones. As the rains stop, impounded water slowly goes out of the stones, creating a temporary water spring.

Trees there are mostly mahogany. We started planting trees there in 1992, about 300 seedlings lang, then more were planted in succeeding years. About a decade ago, we stopped planting, too many naturally-growing seedlings already. They're like grasses, we started uprooting many of them.

This part of the farm is near a creek where there are many stones. I pay for extra labor who manually carries those big stones. The smaller stones that stabilize the big stones at the back are collected around the area where the terraces are built.

See also:
Stone Terraces, Part 6, February 23, 2014
Stone Terraces, Part 7, March 30, 2014
Stone Terraces, Part 8, June 03, 2014
Terraces, Part 9, July 07, 2014