ReforestationFor Future Maya Nut Harvests
We do not manage a reforestation program per se, but work directly with partners to reforest throughout Latin America and beyond.
Our reforestation partners have planted more than 2,000,000 Maya Nut trees in Haiti, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Nicaragua and Mexico.
The biggest motivator for reforestation in 2012 and 2013 was for fodder production for cattle, as climate change is negatively affecting grass pasture in the tropics. Maya Nut is one of the best native fodder trees, and ranchers appreciate it for its remarkable resistance to drought and for its health benefits for meat and dairy cows and goats. Maya Nut fodder is also becoming more important for pig producers, as corn and manioc (the traditional feed for pigs) is getting more expensive.
In some cases, farmers plant Maya Nut trees to use for fodder for 5-10 years, then use them for seed when they are bigger and more established. Maya Nut can be harvested for fodder starting at 2 years. This makes fodder production more important in the short term, as farmers can begin to see benefits of Maya Nut reforestation very quickly. Maya Nut trees can be pruned for fodder up to four times a year and are extremely well adapted to constant and severe pruning. In Yucatan and Quintana Roo, Mexico, all farmers and ranchers appreciate and protect Maya Nut trees for fodder and it is common knowledge that Maya Nut is essential for the regional food security. In this part of Mexico Maya Nut is protected and highly prized for its importance for milk and meat industries.
Our partners Sadhana Forest, Biomimicry Europa and Artik 29 have planted more than 100,000 Maya Nut trees in Haiti, effectively restoring it to the Haitian biome, where it has been extinct for hundreds of years. This is possibly our greatest achievement of the decade. The seeds were brought from Florida (from trees originally from Mexico and Guatemala), Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico. We have tried to ensure genetic diversity as we restore this species to Haiti. Eventually we hope to bring some Maya Nut seed to Haiti from Jamaica and Cuba, as those genotypes are most likely to be similar to the extinct Haitian genotype.
When reforesting with Maya Nut it is important to take into account the following:
- Always respect established seed transfer zones and do not bring seed to an ecoregion from a different ecoregion. If there are sources of seed (mature trees) near the area you are reforesting, please collect seed from those trees and do not purchase or collect seed from other areas. This is to prevent genetic contamination of wild populations of Maya Nut with pollen and genes from other populations.
- The mortality rate of Maya Nut seedlings is very high (up to 50%). Please take this into account when reforesting and plant twice as many trees as you hope to establish.
- Maya Nut seedlings perform best when planted in partial shade that can be cut or removed after 6-12 months, leaving the seedlings in full sun.
- Maya Nut seedlings perform best when all competition from weeds and other trees is controlled/removed.
- Maya Nut seedlings MUST be protected from free ranging cows, horses, pigs, goats, mules and sheep. We do not recommend planting Maya Nut in unfenced areas.
- Maya Nut saplings for fodder or seed should be pruned severely at 2 years, or when the trunks are 5-7 cm in diameter. Severe pruning means effectively chopping the tree completely off at 1.5 meters height. This results in branching of the trunk, which will create a tree with more leaf and seed production.