Tuesday, February 8, 2011

HTRIP: January Highlights

Dear Supporters,

HTRIP started the new year with both feet forward as it conducted another month of its revised agroforestry curriculum, completed data collection about promising tree-planting equipment, and finished purchasing and constructing equipment for its newest community nurseries.

The political disruptions in December set HTRIP's schedule behind, but with the hard work of our technicians and communities, we were able to get back on our feet in January, doubling up education session topics to make up for sessions that were missed. December's primary topic was seed collection and storage (communities collect the seeds for the trees they plant in their own nurseries, and HTRIP supplements these with seeds of rarer species). January's class sessions discussed soil conservation techniques, and we augmented the depth of the material in both.

Communities began putting this educational material to use this month, as they built their nurseries for the 2011 planting season, collecting soil, filling planting bags, gathering seeds, and cultivating seedlings in large germinating trays. HTRIP sponsors several large, central nurseries (in Deschapelles and Bastien, for instance), but the trees it produces there are only meant to supplement the production of each individual community's tree nursery; we consider it important that each community be able to function independently during each phase of the operation, from gathering seeds to pruning adult trees. We will finish distributing supplies to these community nurseries by the end of the week.

HTRIP director Starry Sprenkly planted seven replications of eleven thirty-six-tree plots in the summer of 2009. In the beginning of January, HTRIP staff visited each replication under Starry's guidance to measure tree growth, and collect soil samples and spatial data. The preliminary results from this experiment are excellent (some of the trees ghave grown more than three metres in sixteen months!), and may already provide us with tentative conclusions about the interaction of different tree species in Haiti's mountainous regions, a question that has never been adequately researched--but one that is very obviously tied to HTRIP's mission and goals.

We are looking forward to the next two months as we reach out to select the ten new communities we hope to take on for the 2011-2012 year and begin soil conservation work to lay the groundwork for the summer planting season. Thank you for your continuing support of these endeavors.

The HTRIP Staff
Including Starry Sprenkly and Dan Langfitt

About the images:
Top Right Deschapelles' central nursery: constructing equipment to distribute to communities for sifting soil.
Bottom Left The HTRIP staff atop the hydroelectric dam at Péligre, during a staff retreat last week.

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