Swift says it has a collection area that has not produced master cones for nine years. “This is not a question in my mind” which is a result of climate change, he says. Overall the tumors are smaller and more sporadic than a few decades ago. “If it’s kept pace, I really do not know what nurseries will do to the seeds in 10 or 20 or 50 years,” he says.
Seed plantations – trees that are intentionally managed to harvest seeds – are a contingency plan against lower yields than wild collection. But they, too, have not escaped climate change. The fires last year destroyed an orchard of sugar pine seeds in the Kalamath National Forest and another on the land of the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon. This was a devastating blow, as the orchards take a long time to set up, as the trees need time to mature.
After collection, Seeds are sent to nurseries, where they are grown into seedlings for planting. The authors of the study interviewed more than 120 nursery school administrators about obstacles to increasing their activities to meet forest needs. These problems range from spacing to manpower issues.
“We have no more greenhouse space,” Brian Morris, program director at Webster Forest Nursery in Washington, D.C., told WIRED. “We have to actually work with outdoor towers to meet our demand. So in recent years we have been operating mostly at maximum capacity.”
Finding enough work is already a struggle for nurseries. According to Morris, his nursery hires its in-house workers and seasonal contracts from farm work, and these costs go up every year. In addition, the study noted that immigration issues like visa restrictions often prevent migrant workers from coming to the U.S. For this reason, nursery operators and reforestation project managers are often unsure how many workers will be available and whether their core staff can return. Taking out those contracts and going through the recruitment process, it’s a very stressful time, “Morris says.” We don’t know what we will get each year. “
Last summer, Representative Bruce Westerman, a Republican from Arkansas, wrote the hill Because without visa exemptions for H-2B, by 2020 “1.6 million acres of forests will disappear planted and nearly 1.12 billion seedlings will die.”
Nurseries are also struggling with the issue of retirement. Many veteran growers grow old out of business with few young people rising behind them. There are only three training programs for forestry across the U.S., and increased urbanization has made rural horticultural jobs less desirable. In fact, the program director at Webster retired earlier this year; Morris is temporarily filling the role.
Farjione says that if nursery operators want to expand their infrastructure and hire more workers, they will have to assure the government or other large buyers that the investment will pay off. “They will have to add more land to grow, and that will require them to have some long-term guarantees regarding demand,” says Fergiona. “So things like long-term contracts or low or forgivable loans that will encourage them to make those investments.”
Morris wants even more details. Before he expands the business, he wants to know what reforestation efforts of tree species will focus on later. Does the same tree grow better in soil or in a greenhouse? And what kind of greenhouse? “There are a lot of questions,” he says. “Trees are more than just trees. There are many things to choose from in choosing the right infrastructure for the growth you will grow.”
Once seedlings Sizes, steep slopes and dangers caused by fires make planting forest lands particularly expensive. For example, according to the National Forest Foundation, a single project to plant 8,000 trees in California cost $ 300,000 just to prepare the site.