1. Land survey, planning and preparation (should do it at least 1 year before planting)
1.1 Survey and examine the type of the past natural forest of the selected area before it was transformed into an existing condition and search plant species that are used to be found in the area both in the past and in the present by asking from villagers and observe existing species in the area and nearby.
1.2 Plan the intensive planting by grouping both past and present native species into 4 groups to reduce the competition between the different proportion of trees in each group. The number of proportion comes from the consideration of species’ nature, the importance in ecology, and benefits for wildlife and humans.
Group 1. Top canopy >30 meters high (30-40% of the total area)*
Group 2. Middle canopy 6-30 meters (60-70% of the total area)*
Group 3. Shrubs 0.5-<6 meters (10-30% of the total area)
Group 4. Floor plants and herbaceous (10-30% of the total area)
*Total no. of trees = 100 trees/rai (1 rai = 0.16 hectare)
The appropriate size of reforestation area should be at least 5 rai. If the area is smaller than 5 rai, we calculate the number of trees in each group according to the given ratio. There should be 100 trees per rai, randomized planted 4 x 4 meters scatteredly as follows:
Year 1 Plant Group 1 & 2 those are prepared and ready by spreading Group 1 covering the whole area first and then adding Group 2 in between Group 1 seedlings trying to cover the whole area as well
*Should have at least 60% from both groups ready*
Year 2 Plant the remaining Group 1 & 2 and plant shrubs in available space in all area
Year 3 Plant forest floor species
Year 7-10 Plant climbers
2. DIY seedlings preparation (should do it 1 year before planting)
2.1 Plus tree selection and seed viability testing before collection
2.3 Mycorrhizal fungi inoculation and addition of other local microorganisms
2.4 Seedlings hardening
If you are not comfortable to grow your own seedlings, these are recommendations to look for when you buy good quality seedlings:
1. Size of a container and a seedling should be corresponding, e.g. a 1-year-old Dipterocarpus alatus seedling can be in a 2″ x 7″ container but if the seedling is more than 1 year old, then it should be transferred to a 4″ x 9″ container to prevent a permanent curled root system.
2. Root system must not be permanently curled because a permanent curled taproot will not grow even after we transplant it into a field.
3. Stem from a root collar to around 10 cm should turn brown to represent maturity of a seedling enough for transplanting.
4. Stem is straight, not crooked with a good proportion.
5. Leaves will be yellowish green because of hardening; a process which a seedling will be put under a strong sun for hours and restricted for water to prepare it for a challenging condition in a field. So leaves will turn yellow but a seedling is tough and can survive after transplanting.
Same with your grown seedlings, we should follow above recommendations to produce good quality seedlings.
3. Successful Planting
3.1 Dig the hole 5 times bigger than a seedling pot (usually 20 x 20 x 30 cm hole for 10 x 20 cm seedling pot)
3.2 Remove the seedling from the pot or bag. Beware not to break the soil and put the seedling in the middle of the hole at almost the height of the hole. Then fill the hole until it covers the seedling soil.
***If the plot soil condition is not good, mix 1:1 of manure fertilizer and soil in the hole, then place the seedling in the middle and cover the seedling with the mixture and add more soil to fill the hole.
3.3 Water the soil until it is settled (no gap in the hole).
3.4 Place a wooden stick deep in the ground 1-2 cm away from the seedling stem. Divide the seedling height into 3 parts and tie the seedling with a stick at 2 points to prevent its collapse by the wind.
3.5 Cover the soil around the seedling with rice straw, 7-10 cm thick and 50-70 cm radius wide, to prevent weeds growing around the seedling.
3.6 If the land condition is really dry, water the seedling and rice straw again for the last step.
4. Post-planting Tending
To restore forest, we must have an at least 3-year plan for tending or until we are sure that there will be no effect from drought, weeds, wildfire, animals, pests, diseases, and also human action.