On 6th of April Members of Kakheti Eco hub had tree planting campaign in Kakheti region, at Chachuna reserve in the riparian forest.
Chachuna reserve, which is located in south- eastern part of Georgia, has savannah-like landscapes, semi -deserts and arid woodlands and riparian forests covering a narrow strip of land along the Iori river. Riparian forests are mainly found in the coastal line of the rivers and should be especially appreciated by the arid regions. Such forests are few in Georgia, because they are easily subject of negative effects of natural phenomena and anthropogenic influence. One of the factors that reduce the population size of the Imperial Eagle is the massive destruction of the forest (especially serious damage of cutting the tall old trees). Suffering more from the destruction of habitats, fewer nest sites are available for the birds.
100 seedlings of floodplain oak tree (Quercus pedunculiflora) were bought from LEPL “National nursery” of the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia. The preparation of the activities began a few weeks before. SABUKO staff and a forester – Erich Mies agreed to assist us on selecting location for planting the trees. Together, we explored coastline of the riparian forest, where we found many “gaps”, so-called sheep corridor, which turned the forest line with tall trees into small tree species, saplings, and shrubs. Few tall oak trees can be found, most of them fell or were cut down, however, we selected two places on the bank of the Iori river, near the rangers house of the Chachuna Managed Reserve. As the oak is deep rooted tree, and the selected location is the bank of the river, the habitat is suitable for the growth, the risks include only: sheep and the season (meaning the drought).
The instructions of planting the trees were the following: planting groups of trees in a square, putting in the center the most vigorous plant from nursery. The soil near the river is easy to dig, soil texture is silty to loamy, some gravel or stones would appear. The hole of 5 cm deeper and 5 cm wider as the pot of the plant is, should not be more. After planting, at least one liter of water should be spilt around each plant. The protection of young seedlings from sheep and cattle was the most important measure to be taken, thus we chose places near the rangers so they could help with the monitoring and watering.
The protected area agency gave us the permission to plant only 50 seedlings for now. The rest and more is planned to be planted in autumn.
On the 6th of April, Kakheti Ecohub members, SABUKO staff members,pupils (aged from 14 to17) and a teacher from the 2nd public school of Dedoplistskaro, members of the Agency of Protected Areas, Administration stuff of Chachuna managed reserve and the whole group of rangers travelled together to the chosen sites near Iori river bank. The main topics of the day were: the importance of riparian forests, Chachuna as an important bird area, who are Rangers and what are their responsibilities, caring for the forest and instructions for planting. Afterwards, pupils were divided into groups to plant the oak seedlings. The end of the campaign event was held at the rangers’ house, where during the launch members of the Agency of Protected Areas talked about the creation and importance of the protected areas of Georgia.