Pro-Bosque (Part 1): Nurseries for Reforestation


reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery pinus patula

Pro-Bosque are the “Forest Protectors” for the State of Mexico (not to be confused with the country of Mexico), roughly the size of New Jersey. Their mission is to “provide services and products that strengthen the management, protection, conservation and restoration of forests in the State.” To find out more, let's visit the Pro-Bosque headquarters in Toluca, also home to their seed bank, genetics lab and two nurseries.

[Versión española abajo]

ProBosque by the numbers 
  • 7,700,000 million trees in production (Dec. 2017).
  • 136,404 acres of reforestation projects since 2006.
  • 56,754 acres of commerical plantations since 2006.
  • 19 nurseries throughout the State.
  • 5.1 tons of seed stored, enough for 70 million trees. 
reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery seed bank

reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery seed bank

Growing Trees
“Each nursery grows different species, with different methods, in a different climate.” says Nancy Moreno Onofre. Here at nursery “Invernadero” in Toluca, they grow acacias for reforestation, oyamel firs for monarch habitat, citrus and figs for orchards, eucalyptus for resin, and 15 species pines, such as pinus ayacahuite for Christmas tree farms—54 species total. The site also houses a laboratory for genetic selection and a seed bank that tests germination rates and supplies the nursery with seed.

This nursery was producing 1-million seedlings at date of visit (Dec. 15th 2017), according to its manager, Esteban Sanchez. “It's very satisfying, to contribute to nature,” said Sanchez. Back in 1990, the year Pro-Bosque was founded, he planted the now-mature pine forest that surrounds the nursery, a rare patch of green in a concrete city. “We can breathe fresher air here.” Working 10-hour days, he spends more time with his seedlings that his family. “My responsibility is to seed them, grow them to 30cm, and that's it,” says Sanchez, who also oversees them being loaded into trucks, like a proud yet worried parent watching his children move off to school.

Then what happens to the trees? “Donations.”

reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery

reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery abies religiosa oyamel fir monarch habitat
See communities restoring
  Oyamels forests for Monarch butterfly habitat.

Economy or Ecology?
Pro-Bosque has provided the seedlings, equipment and labor for all 136-thousand of their reforestation projects. Most of the recipients are ejidos, meaning communities with shared land, established since the 1930's after the Revolution dismantled the feudal hacienda system. The projects can either focus on commercial plantations (timber or Christmas trees) or conservation forests, or both, depending on the wishes of the recipients. “The projects are for the community,” said engineer Rodolfo Mendoza, “for the benefit of everyone.”
  • As for conservation projects, objectives of Pro-Bosque include carbon sequestration, soil conservation, forest fire mitigation, wildlife habitat and hydrology improvement. The community recieves ecological benefits, such as cleaner air and water, milder climate and natural beauty. 
  • In the case of commercial plantations, Pro-Bosque enforces sustainable methods. Any given harvest only removes 20% of a stand, according to Rodolfo, allowing recuperation on a 10-year cycle. 
In both bases, Pro-Bosque pays financial incentives for the landowners to enter their programs. See more about incentives and Pro-Bosque's programs in part II.

Other Functions of Pro-Bosque
  • Conduct studies to classify forests and calculate inventory. 
  • Propose areas for establishing reserves. 
  • Combat wildfires. 
  • Reforest, restore soil and combat desertification. 
  • Research and develop forestry techniques, systems and species genetics. 
  • Promote local forestry organizations and conduct training. [X]
reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery Conafor
See how the work of a similar organization,
 Conafor, benefits communities in Michoacan.

References
[X] http://probosque.edomex.gob.mx/index.php/acerca-de/funciones



Pro-Bosque son los "Protectores del bosque" para el Estado de México. Su misión es "proporcionar servicios y productos que fortalezcan la gestión, protección, conservación y restauración de los bosques en el estado". Para obtener más información, visitemos la sede de Pro-Bosque en Toluca, también donde hay su banco de semillas, laboratorio de genética y dos viveros.

ProBosque por los números
  • 7,700,000 millones de árboles en producción (diciembre de 2017). 
  • 136,404 acres de proyectos de reforestación desde 2006. 
  • 56,754 acres de plantaciones comerciales desde 2006. 
  • 19 viveros en todo el estado. 
  • 5.1 toneladas de semillas almacenadas, suficiente para 70 millones de árboles.
Árboles crecientes  
"Cada vivero cultiva diferentes especies, con diferentes métodos, en un clima diferente", dice Nancy Moreno Onofre.   Aquí en el vivero "Invernadero" en Toluca, cultivan acacias para reforestación, oyamel para hábitat de monarca, cítricos e higos para huertos, eucaliptos para resina, y 15 especies de pinos, como pinus ayacahuite para plantaciones de árboles de Navidad--54 especies en total. El sitio también alberga un laboratorio para la selección genética y un banco de semillas que evalúa las tasas de germinación y suministra semillas al vivero.    

Este vivero producía 1 millón de plántulas en la fecha de visita (15 de diciembre de 2017), según su gerente, Esteban Sánchez. "Es muy satisfactorio contribuir a la naturaleza", dijo Sánchez. En 1990, el año en que se fundó Pro-Bosque, él plantó el bosque de pinos ahora maduro que rodea el vivero, un raro parche de verde en una ciudad concreta. "Aquí podemos respirar aire más fresco". Trabajando 10 horas al día, Esteban pasa más tiempo con sus plantas de semillero que su familia. "Mi responsabilidad es sembrarlos, cultivarlos a 30 cm, y ya", dice Sánchez, quien también supervisa que los carguen en camiones, como un contento pero preocupado padre viendo a sus hijos irse a la escuela.    

Despues, ¿qué pasa con los árboles? "Donaciones".

Economía o Ecología?  
Pro-Bosque ha proporcionado las plántulas, el equipo y la mano de obra para los 136 mil proyectos de reforestación. La mayoría de los destinatarios son ejidos, es decir, comunidades con tierras compartidas, establecidas desde la década de 1930 después de que la Revolución desmanteló el sistema de hacienda feudal. Los proyectos pueden enfocarse en plantaciones comerciales (madera o árboles de Navidad) o bosques de conservación, o ambos, dependiendo de los deseos de los destinatarios. "Los proyectos son para la comunidad", dijo el ingeniero Rodolfo Mendoza, "para el beneficio de todos".
  • En el caso de los proyectos de conservación, los objetivos de Pro-Bosque incluyen el secuestro de carbono, la conservación del suelo, la mitigación de los incendios forestales, el hábitat de la vida silvestre y la mejora de la hidrología. La comunidad recibe beneficios ecológicos, como aire y agua más limpios, clima más suave y belleza natural. 
  • En el caso de las plantaciones comerciales, Pro-Bosque aplica métodos sostenibles. Según Rodolfo, una cosecha determinada solo elimina el 20% de una base, lo que permite la recuperación en un ciclo de 10 años. 
En ambos casos, Pro-Bosque paga incentivos financieros para que los propietarios ingresen a sus programas. Vea más sobre incentivos y programas de Pro-Bosque en la parte II.


Otras funciones de Pro-Bosque  
  • Llevar a cabo estudios para clasificar los bosques y calcular el inventario. 
  • Proponer áreas para establecer reservas. 
  • Combate incendios forestales. 
  • Reforestar, restaurar el suelo y combatir la desertificación. 
  • Investigar y desarrollar técnicas, sistemas y genética de especies forestales. 
  • Promover organizaciones forestales locales y realizar capacitación. [X]

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