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News from the Peru Rainforest August 2004

The pilot farm

August at Taricaya Research Centre saw us concentrating on two of our projects in particular – our mahogany project and our animal release programme.

We have carried out careful studies on mahogany growth in order to make mahogany plantations a viable economic possibility for the local farmers. At the pilot farm the volunteers were kept very busy preparing the nursery beds for the planting of the mahogany seeds. The seeds needed a special bed of damp sawdust covered by a roof of netting to prevent excess light from destroying them (see right).

We used the local expertise of a forestry engineer by the name of Gustavo who came to Taricaya and taught us the correct (but painstaking!) method for planting the Mahogany seeds seeds. Each seed needed to broken open in the right place and then carefully placed in the correct position on top of the sawdust before an additional layer was then placed on top. The photo on the right shows seeds prepared and then laid out in neat rows. By the end of the month we were well over 75% had started to germinate (well above the normal average of 50%!). Next, special beds need to be prepared to transfer the young saplings to in a few weeks. The saplings will be given more space in this second phase and then after a further 16-20 weeks we’ll transplant them to the grassy areas where hopefully they will flourish.

This month we were also kept very busy with the animal release program. We received a young female collared peccary (Tayassu tajacu) of 3 months and hope that with Red Macaw time she will bond with our young male - together they could provide us with our own pack of wild peccaries! They are both allowed to roam free around the centre and are often seen following volunteers along the trails, familiarising themselves with the area of the reserve! The parrots, macaws and Preciosa the young jaguar are all responding well to their new environment, space and their change of diet – the bird’s clipped flight feathers are moulting to be replaced by new complete ones and Preciosa is growing quickly and her glossy pelt indicates her current good health.

To read the full report and find out more about Taricaya Lodge visit http://www.projects-abroad.org/volunteer-destinations/volunteer-peru/

Stuart Timson
Conservation Manager
La Reserva Ecologica Taricaya
10th September, 2004

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