When my family and I moved onto our farm a couple of years ago, the small creek that ran through the bottom part of our land had been essentially abandoned for several decades. While we could hear the creek, it was all but impossible to make our way down to where the water actually ran due to a mess of vines, thorns, and thick underbrush. An invasive vine (similar to kudzu) had choked out some of the cedar saplings that somehow had managed to take root in that mess of brush.
When the dry season finally came around, we were able to machete our way down to the creek and see firsthand the steady flow of water that we hoped to one day use for our domestic water supply. The dry season here in Central America, however, lasts at least half the year. In March (nearing the end of the dry season), our small creek had slowed to a trickle, and by April there was nothing but murky soil along the creek bed. Once the rains began again in May, the creek reappeared, but we realized that we would be left with several months of water shortage each year.
AN EXPERIMENT WITH CHECK DAMS
A couple weeks of intense machete hacking that dry season allowed us to plant several hundred cedar saplings along the creek´s edge. While our reforestation effort would hopefully contribute to protecting and maybe even strengthening the small creek, we knew it would take years to see any sort of progress towards a developing forest ecosystem.
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