There are several obstacles in landscape scale reforestation in California and the Pacific Northwest. Below are examples of where ICF is pursuing the following avenues to increase capacity, quality, and longevity of seedlings and overall project success.
ICF has a strong network of tree climbers and vegetation specialist to collect seed at scale. Our personnel are capable of collecting large quantities of seed in the limited window of availability.
ICF also has a strong network of landowners who can provide access to plantations throughout the California that are not currently being collected.
We currently have a network of nursery personnel with experience in propagating conifers, hardwoods, and shrubs native and naturalized to California and the Pacific Northwest.
Labor could be provided as support for critical points in production or as a long term personnel for a full season.
Labor must be arranged in advance. Most labor is brought in from abroad and works under H2B visas requiring advanced notice for operating in specific areas.
Peer-reviewed research and in-field observations have confirmed the benefit of incorporating endophytes in the propagation and planting process. Endophytes represent a critical component of propagation. A well managed nursery uses sterile soil medium and uses best management practices prevent contamination. A result is poor soil biotics. The use of endophytes provide the essential living active soil biomes necessary for healthy vegetation. This increases carbon and nitrogen exchange, access to phosphorus, and may lead to the removal of soil contaminants.
Endophytes can be applied in granular or liquid form. In granular form they can be applied to the soil mix or as a cover. In liquid form endophytes can be applied in the nursery, directly to the roots in the field prior to planting, and to the seedlings after being planted.
ICF recommends on integrating endophytes in reforestation and restoration projects.
There is a shortage of propagation space for vegetation throughout California. ICF is speaking with public and private entities with out-of-production/abandoned nurseries. The objective is to rebuild and update these nurseries increasing production capacity within the state.
It is estimated that current production meet less than half of existing demand. Without the necessary infrastructure it is not possible to meet reforestation, restoration, and climate change objectives.
IFC is seeking partners to increase capacity, and quality of nursery stock through developing strong partnerships with non-profits and the public sector.
ICF is speaking with growers on cloning from seed. This is not something pursued lightly but is being explored. Genetic diversity, disease management, adequate seed supply, infrastructure, and cost are all being taken under consideration during our exploration.
This is seen as a potentially cost effective approach to producing enough stock to meet demand. Establishing best management practices with procedures may reduce the occurrence of seedlings planted along side their clone. ICF has already stated that no GMO seedlings will be used or the study of them approved.
Planting and Herbicide Applicator Crews
The availability of skilled and experienced labor diminishes each year as demand increases, number of available visas remains the same, and demand increases. These visas are shared with the broader economy and not categorized as the more available agricultural visas.
These crews and professionals consist of of tree planters, fallers, herbicide applicators, and equipment operators. All crews employed by, contracted with, or submitting a bid to ICF must provide proof of the ability to legally work in the United States and project areas as well as present all necessary licensure, certification, and credentials.
ICF currently has and is negotiation a series of MOUs with non-profits and private industry who have obtained visas. We are facilitating the coordination between the domestic visa holders and organizations abroad.