The Etang-Salé nursery is modernizing its production tools

Following the economic crisis linked to Covid-19, a recovery plan was put in place. The Reunion ONF, which benefited from it, was able to increase the productivity of forest nurseries. At Etang-Salé, more than a hundred species are occupied by nurserymen, waiting to repopulate the island’s forests. Pampered plants thanks to optimized production tools.

France’s economic recovery plan for 2020-2022 is a program put in place to revive and stimulate the French economy following the economic crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic. The ONF obtained funds to increase the productivity of forest nurseries and provide endemic species to the whole island. This program enabled the modernization of the Makes and L’Etang Salé nurseries.

Along with Les Makes, Aurères and Cilaos, the Etang-Salé nursery is one of four nurseries dedicated to beautifying the island’s forests. There are around ten agents responsible for preparing future trees there, thanks to production tools optimized at the end of the Covid crisis.

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The Étang-Salé nursery is modernizing its production tools

At Etang-Salé, while waiting to repopulate Reunion’s forests, more than a hundred species are pampered by ONF nurseries: arnette wood, mao, sponge wood, sandwood , hen’s leg, veloutier… Professionals have developed many tricks to improve the harvesting and conservation of the seeds of the species. The seeds are put in waterproof bags, “They germinate much faster that way” says Alix, one of the nurserymen.

Professionals also optimize repotting to promote the development of plant roots. Optimization made possible thanks to “anti-bun” pots, more practical than conventional horticultural sachets. The interior of these “anti-bun” pots is indeed provided with vertical grooves which guide the roots downwards. Pots which can also be opened in order to be reused specifies Agnès Thongo, manager of the South-West Reunion-Mayotte production unit.

The Etang-Salé nursery is modernizing its production tools

©Laurent Josse

This improvement in the ONF’s production tool was made possible thanks to funds from the State recovery plan. A recovery plan quickly implemented with two main objectives: to revive the economy quickly after the health crisis and to accelerate the ecological transition and adaptation to climate change. “A success since it is more than 35 million euros of agricultural and forestry projects, five forestry projects for 1.4 million euros of subsidies, which are well in these two objectives “ explains Boris Calland, deputy director of the Food, Agriculture and Forestry Department, DAAF.

The ONF aims to double its annual production of endemic and indigenous plants. “Currently, with our four nurseries which are distributed on the island according to the bioclimatic zones, the ONF produces approximately 50,000 plants per year” says Sylvain Léonard, regional director ONF Réunion-Mayotte. Trees in the making, intended to reforest forests to fight against the development of invasive exotic species, but also to boost a production sector with cryptomeria and tamarind.

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