By Hanna Tuoriniemi, HAF Intern and University of Michigan Student
A community olive tree nursery in the Meknes area (HAF, 2022)
On July 21, HAF’s President Yossef Ben-Meir spoke at the United Nation’s Series of Webinars on Landscape Restoration in the Arab Region during their Second Webinar entitled The Target Plant Concept and Ecosystem Restoration. President Ben-Meir provided the event with a case study that further emphasized the importance of utilizing the Target Plant Concept in lieu of other traditional methods of planting.
When focusing on ecological restoration, the process of planting seeds is not to simply decide there is a need and start a nursery. Instead, the event highlighted that you need a model that includes other factors for success. The Target Plant Concept includes six factors: objectives, type, source, limiting factors, timing, and tools. During Ben-Meir’s presentation, the High Atlas Foundation was shown as a groundbreaking example of how to utilize each of the factors.
An example of how HAF utilizes the Target Plant Concept is through the type of seeds planted. HAF put much consideration into what kind of nurseries should be created. Ben-Meir pointed out that many farmers in Morocco rely on corn and barely and do not have the land to focus on other agricultural pursuits. However, fruit trees provide a new agricultural mission for the country that could benefit many stakeholders in the country. By receiving land through the government, religious groups, education centers, women’s cooperatives, and other groups, this obstacle is solved and fruit trees can create new possibilities for farmers.
The event also showed the importance of monitoring the seedlings that are planted. Monitoring can be implemented daily for climatic data and irrigation. It can also occur periodically for fertilization and seedling growth. Ben-Meir added that when seedlings are monitored, they have the ability to become certified carbon offsets, creating a unique environmental, social, and economical impact.
HAF has developed a system for planting seedlings at tree nurseries that can be used as a template for other nurseries that want to optimize their impact through the Target Plant Concept.