Almost ten years ago an investigation began on the history and properties of Palo Santo in the community of Joa / Jipijapa / Ecuador. Today, at the same point in Ecuador, an interesting Palo Santo Reforestation Program is being carried out, which seeks to rescue the forgotten tradition of sowing for tomorrow and the restoration of the dry forests of Manabí.
Thanks to our reforestation project in the last 4 years, we have managed to plant more than 10,000 trees of palo santo in 50 hectares of forest located in the community of Joa / Manabí / Ecuador, the same that is in the last processes to be declared protective forest by the MAE.
At the end of 2016 we planted around 5,000 trees of Palo Santo; In January 2019, we reforested 4,000 more trees together with the farmers and people around the forest in Joa, where we taught them the proper way to work with the Palo Santo, and in December of the same year we joined the campaign “plant a tree with "where we planted 500 trees of palo santo in the Montecristi hill, here participated people of all ages mostly children, who were part of the boys scouts.
This 2020 we have planned to plant around 4000 trees native to dry forests such as the Zapote Perro (Colicodendron scabridum), Aromo (Acacia farnesiana), Jolote (Cojoba arborea), Cerezo (Muntingia calabura), Palo Santo (Bursera Graveolens) among others, in the 50 hectares located in Joa / jipijapa / Manabí, beginning to plant the first 1500 trees of the species palo santo (bursera graveolens) in conjunction with the students of the faculty of agronomic sciences of the technical university of Manabí, with whom They have been working on several investigations about dry forests and the palo santo, since it is believed to be a species that helps reduce the carbon footprint.
We support the reforestation project, through a percentage of the money generated by the sale of Palo Santo products. This financing has made possible the creation of a nursery 6 years ago. Since then, approximately 40,000 trees have been planted. Much of these have been delivered to schools, colleges, institutions, Municipality of Puerto López and even the Machalilla National Park, while the rest has been given to people more individually.
In addition to helping conserve the environment, the sale of Palo Santo products has allowed the training of artisans who work in the entire production process of the various items. There are about 25 people who receive a decent salary and claim to be happy with their employment situation and committed to delivering a quality product.
The ultimate goal is to restore the dry forests of Manabí, where the Palo Santo tree lives, generate oxygen and work for homes and caregivers. The artisans will be the ones to execute the project and for this, they must continue training and develop a culture of long-term conservation.
Something very important that you should know is that for the protection of dry forests and palo santo trees it is essential to use this sacred wood and its derived products, which are made once the palo santo tree has died naturally. If the artisans who live from the Palo Santo trade do not find people to sell this sacred wood to, they will proceed to cut the trees to use the spaces in short-cycle crops such as corn, cattle raising or something that helps you financially.
More and more people are interested in our reforestation program and learn that the trees that are being reforested will be used in the future when they die naturally.
The Palo Santo tree has a life cycle of around 30 years or more when this tree dies naturally it must rest for 2 to 4 years in its natural environment, that is when this sacred wood manifests all its healing properties and we can take advantage of them, among them the large amounts of Limonene a medicinal terpene known to be a strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic agent that can be used if you use its essential oil.
Also, people from other countries are interested in our reforestation program and have come to Ecuador to visit our forest, as is the case of PhD. Betsy Collins (George Manson University) and the PhD. Carolina Quintana (Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador) visited our forest in Joa on February 28, 2020, for the “Collection of samples of Palo Santo trees for DNA analysis”.
A sample of large trees of age over 30 years was collected, also from small trees from 1 year to 3 years, for this, we used the trees we reforest in 2019 and 2020, the procedure was as follows: identify the trees, take a georeference point with GPS, measure the trunk with a diametric tape (DAP), write down characteristics of the trees, most large trees should have flowers and fruits to be able to collect samples from them.
On the other hand, young leaves were collected from small trees, the average of branches with collected leaves was between 8 to 12.
The collected branches were placed on a filter paper with tape, they were stored in a Ziploc bag identified with a code, then gel was placed to moisten them and keep them until the respective analyzes were performed on each sample.
Our friends were fascinated by the trees that had been reforested a month ago since in their entirety they have green leaves thanks to winter.
Seeing that a good reforestation work had been done, they did not hesitate to ask the methodology we used and we explained that the method that has been used in our reforestation program is called a transplant which consists in determining an area of the forest that have overpopulation of the same species for the extraction of trees that are very close to each other and move them to an area of the forest where there are no trees so that they can continue with their natural development.
In this way the space that remains when extracting the trees will be used by other native species of the dry forest, so we are helping with the restoration of tropical dry forests.
Delighted with all our work we made delivery of some Pepito Colorado trees of one-year-old that we had taken, this species is a native of the dry forests, we know this thanks to the preliminary data of the forest structure research that It was held in August 2019 that the results will soon be published in a scientific article and in our blog. Our visitors without hesitation received the trees and planted them and thus joined our reforestation programs.
All this that we have exposed here, is a visionary project, the road is not easy, but the important thing is that we support the work of artisans who still live in harmony with nature and take care of our only home, the Earth.