Geographic Consulting Field Crew “Releasing” a native tree planting at Salt River National Park

Geographic Consulting is working with National Parks Service this week doing one of the things we do best; Forest restoration and monitoring.

 

Mowing Guinea grass releases the native trees from competition for light.

Mowing Guinea grass releases the native trees from competition for light.

In July, 2012 Geographic Consulting partnered with National Park Service and others at Salt River National Park in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. We planted over 600 native trees, locally grown by the Art Farm. The species included Black Olive (Bucida buceras), Orange Manjack (Cordia rickseckeri), Black Mampoo (Guapira fragrens), Pink Poui (Tabebuia heterophylla) Fiddlewood (Citherexylum fruticosum), and several others.

This week our field crew worked with NPS staff to relocate and mark these trees prior to our field work. We have been mowing the 6 ft tall guinea grass and rubber vine to release the trees and promote their growth. The percentage of trees that have survived thus far is much higher than expected, perhaps over 80%.

5 ft tall grass, at right, is mowed to help native tree saplings grow.

5 ft tall grass, at right, is mowed to help native tree saplings grow.

Simultaneous to the release treatment, we are completing an inventory and tree health assessment with the help of the NPS technical team. Location, species, height, damage, overall condition and other data are recorded in hand held Trimble GPS units. The data is recorded in a spatial database that will allow us to calculate survival rates and growth rates for unique tree species and for the project overall.

 

This data will improve our knowledge of what treatments and tree species are effective in forest restoration work in the Virgin Islands and improved future management decisions for us, for NPS and for our partners with whom we share data.

Field tech.s mark trees prior to the field treatment.

Field tech.s mark trees prior to the field treatment.

 

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