Tree planting underway for 2018

Farmers in Laclubar and Soibada have started tree planting for the 2018 wet season. A total of 47,300 trees are being planted including 27,700 Mahogany and Casuarina at Laclubar, and 19,600 Mahogany and Teak at Soibada. All trees are raised in 20 farmer owned and managed nurseries (13 nurseries in Laclubar and 7 nurseries in Soibada). Nursery owners earn an income from sale of trees. Everyone will be praying that the rain continues until trees are firmly established and growing well!

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Left: Maria Da Silva, local field worker and helpers delivering seedlings to farmers.

Right: Farmer and his children inspecting their Casuarina trees!

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Left: Proud farmer showing his Mahogany seedlings

Right: Planting seedlings in the field




Farmers learn about FMNR from World Vision and Aileu farmers

Farmers from Laclubar and Soibada had two opportunities to learn about Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration in December 2017 organised by Alex Sarmento, our project manager. Jesuinho Gusmao from World Vision TL visited the project area in early December to give an introductory presentation to the community and assess suitability of sites for FMNR. He visited six sites and showed farmers the basic elements of how to manage natural regeneration of eucalypts.

Jes and Guido at Laclubar site inspection 2017

Jes Gusmao from World Vision (right) and Guido Deamantino from Laclubar (left)

A group of 21 farmers (7 women, 14 men) and our 5 project staff were then selected to go on a  study tour to Aileu district where farmers have been practicing FMNR for several years. The first stop was the World Vision office in Dili where Jes gave a more indepth presentation about FMNR techniques and handed out posters (see below).

Laclubar farmers looking at poster at WVI office in Dili

The group continued on to Aileu where they met Manuel da Silva who has transformed his forest landscape by terracing, coppicing, thinning and crop diversification. Manuel demonstrated pruning techniques and explained how to improve the productive capacity of degraded lands.

Champion farmer talking to Lac farmers

Manuel showing his mixed pineapple, cassava and eucalyptus plantation.

Farmers at Aileu

Eucalyptus alba plantation on terraced slopes.

Here are some of the comments from farmers on what they had learnt from the trip;

Adroaldo Soares: I like his trees because his trees are very varied. So we want to copy his practice. We only planted two trees so far.

Zacarias Sarmento: I like his long-term trees and short term trees but we need to increase the varieties of trees. Because if we do that then our farm will be so diverse.

Ernesto Martins: Manuel’s trees are not only planted trees but also natural regrowth. My land is very suitable for FMNR. I have cut all trees in my field but in Manuel’s farm he keeps everything.

Tomas Soares: We want more training in seedlings production and integrated farming like that of Manuel.

The target is to have at least 40 ha undergoing FMNR by June 2020.

Many thanks to Alex Sarmento and Jes Gusmao for organising the farmer training.

Group shot holding FMNR posters

Learning about Timor and Australian wildlife

As I approached the Laclubar elementary school, the classrooms erupted in shrieks and giggles as the children pressed up to the open barred windows to get a glimpse of the strange “Malae” woman approaching with bags of books, crayons and paper. They could not contain their excitement when they realised we going to do some activities, their eager eyes focused on the materials being laid out on the teachers table. I started by showing pictures of Australian animals and birds, explaining how they lived, what they ate and how they carried their babies. We passed around postcards, posters and books so they could individually examine the unfamiliar echnidas, emus and koalas. Shouts of recognition went up when they saw cockatoos, a possum and lizards. I asked them “What wild animals do you see in your forests?” Almost in unison, I heard “Laku” (the Asian palm civet), “Monkey”, “Nike” (Bat), and other species such as green tree frogs, Northern cuscus, snakes and coloured parrots.

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The children in classes one and two enjoyed colouring in pictures of various animals, birds, frogs, snakes, bats and geckos. They pawed over books about lizards, frogs, koalas and kangaroos; some counting numbers and colours. Joaquin, my translator from secondary school, engaged the children in explaining information in the books and giving positive feedback on their artwork. We finished with group photos with the children proudly showing their pictures. Future biodiversity education activities will focus on integrating information on wildlife found in the biodiversity surveys and local ecological knowledge to encourage more interest in wildlife conservation.





Team completes household survey

The baseline household survey was conducted in Laclubar and Soibada subdistricts from Sunday 22nd October to Friday 27th October 2017. A team of four enumerators from Laclubar were selected so the local dialect of IDATE could be used with farmers as their preferred language. Team members included Enrico (agriculture graduate from UNTL with several years experience working with WVI and JICA); Liberio (agriculture student UNTL), Adi (UNTL public health graduate, working for Plan International); and Freddie (Uni graduate). Alex Sarmento organised the team and translated the questionnaire into Tetum. A pre-test was conducted with four farmers and several questions were modified.


Alex Sarmento going through the questionnaire with the team.

Jennifer Bond and Joanne Millar accompanied the team over four days whilst they interviewed 43 Farmers (including 9 women) who have been planting trees since 2011. Most of these farmers plan to continue planting trees in 2018 so the impacts of the project can be evaluated in coming years.  The village or suco of Orlalan had 15 farmers to interview, Batara suco had 11, Manelima suco had 8, Soibada suco 5,  Funar  suco 3 and Sana’ain only 2 farmers.  Farmers were asked about land use, plantation management, income sources and expenditure, awareness of conservation farming/FMNR, and traditional ecological knowledge. Results will be available in early 2018.


Adi interviewing lady in Funar village


Enrico interviewing farmer in Soibada

Forest inventory training for field staff

In September 2017, five field officers based in Laclubar and Soibada were trained in forest inventory methods and tools needed for forest assessments. These methods included setting up circular plots in steep terrain and edge plots, tree diameter measurements (dbh) and tree heights. The measurements will assist in calculating carbon stocks for carbon certification and entering the carbon market. The field team was also trained in the use of hand held GPS, capture of waypoints, data downloads and storage of the information in electronic format. The goal was to provide the team with skills to map planted areas and collect field data to validate our land use map. A manual of mapping and forest inventory procedures were drafted in both English and Tetum. Safety gear was also provided.

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Jorge Ramos (left), CSU forest researcher training field staff from Laclubar and Soibada

Local stakeholder consultations

This is the post excerpt.

The project kicked off in Timor Leste in September with a series of stakeholder consultations to discuss expansion of community reforestation activities and carbon certification to a recognised international carbon standard. Participants also discussed

  • Sustainable Development elements of the project
  • A Sustainability Monitoring Plan
  • A strategy for continuous consultation (Input & Grievance Mechanism)

Meetings were held in Dili, Laclubar and Soibada. There were 24 attendees in Dili with representatives from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Environment, National Directorate for Climate Change, Department of Forestry, RAEBIA, World Vision International and Conservation International. Issues raised included more diversity of tree plantings (for biodiversity and food, not just timber);  safeguards to reduce pressure on natural forests; potential extreme climate impacts, and use of  participatory land use mapping for land use change planning.


Dili stakeholder meeting

Thirty two community members attended the Laclubar meeting and 24 local people attended the Soibada meeting. Laclubar farmers want to improve site selection, nursery management, seedling distribution, work scheduling and promotion of “working bees”,. They are considering  the creation of womens’ groups to encourage female participation, and introduction of water harvesting systems to deal with drought and tree mortality. They also thought there should be more variety of trees including fruit trees and plantings on communal land, awareness raising about grazing compliance by neighbours and use of the authority of the Chef du Suco (village chief) to reinforce compliance. Soibada’s farmers are worried about increasing landslides and want to plant trees on communal land but avoid areas that are currently contested. They also suggested providing trees to all households as a way of achieving general community participation.



Laclubar stakeholders