Participatory evaluation of mobile tree nursery
Tree nurseries vary greatly from a few dozen seedlings grown in household nurseries to mechanized commercial enterprises producing millions of seedlings per year. Household nurseries are established and managed by individual farmers and/or their families to meet the family’s need for tree seedlings; they may also generate income through selling seedlings. Furthermore, seedlings may be provided to community members to enhance local relationships and social capital (Roshetko et al., 2010). The establishment of permanent and high capacity nurseries requires initial high investment, utilizes the land permanently and is labour intensive. Fencing, land preparation and installation of irrigation systems are some of the activities needed to establish a permanent forest tree and shrub nursery: mobile nurseries may help to avoid these issues. In addition, farmers can transport mobile nurseries with small quantities of seedlings on their shoulders or back, or by donkey or horse. Nursery production is a seasonal activity and seedling numbers will vary considerably depending on the forest development project. Flexible, easily manageable and effective nurseries are important to fulfil the demand at household level and encourage forest development that will contribute to preventing land degradation and help to mitigate the effects of climate change. Nursery practices may be carried out in the morning or evening in conjunction with animal management activities, contributing to more efficient household labour. Thus, mobile nurseries made from locally available material could circumvent the need for high cost permanent nurseries as well as reduce the costs of household labour.