In the Africa Wood Grow forests we aim for natural pest control. One group of birds would be more than welcome to assist us in protecting the fruittrees and crops from harmful insects; the African hornbill. As a natural enemy of unwanted guests like grasshoppers they potentially play an important role in reducing the loss of fruit and crops.
To create a place where a hornbill (and any other animal) can live there must be food available and a place to live. Food isn’t the problem a place to live is a bigger challenge since hornbills nest in cavaties of old(er) trees. Our newly planted trees aren’t suitable for the hornbills (yet). To provide them a proper place to live the plan came up to place nestboxes in the trees. This was a bit of a challenge since there’s no garden centre that sells nestboxes for hornbills. The research of took the crew of Africa Wood Grow to a zoo to see; how big a nestbox for a hornbill should be and what size the opening of the nestbox was necessary for the birds. With this data a local carpenter was able to make a nestbox suitable for hornbills. Although the nestbox is not occupied yet we are sure it will only be a matter of time before hornbills will enrich our fruitforest and play there role in pest control.
Over the past nine years a lot has changed around Africa Wood Grow. Throughout this time, also technology has changed and now provides us with the possibility to shoot our own high-resolution images. Last November (2018) we set out and managed to capture the first high quality images of the 4 farms.
From today these images are published on the website, providing information for everyone who is interested. We hope to provide a clearer spatial overview of the projects and as such increase the transparency of the activities. In the future we like to continue to acquire these kinds of images, allowing us to compare images and analyse the changes happening over time.
For now the images provide us with interesting insights in the forestry farms. The trees on Kathome farm show to be thriving gloriously. Easy to distinguish are the two different species of trees that are growing in this area. The greener trees are the trees we mostly plant and nurse, the highly drought resistant Melia Volkenssi, locally known as Mukau. The other species is called Azadirachte Indica, locally known as Neem tree. After nine years of putting all available effort in to making this place a peaceful green environment this image now shows it we pulled it off.
The same accounts for the image of Umu farm, where small green tips are the tops of our happily growing trees. We foresee that in a few years, Umu will be as green as Kathome farm is now. Kamutei farm and Mugumo farm are our more recent projects and therefore have a bit of a longer way to go. However, on the images one can see the dug holes in which the trees will be planted. As soon as the rain season started trees were planted here and in the upcoming years we aspire to make these sites thrive as Kathome and Umu already do. With this newfound way to capture the current state of our farms we will be able to monitor the developments on site and keep everyone updated on the greening of this beautiful area.
We opened the new year with the first ever born calf in our agro-forestry system. Mother and calf are doing very well. We are thinking of a nice name, let us know if you have a good suggestion!