It takes a community to harvest our perfectly ripe blueberries, and it takes a diverse set of surrounding flora to help the crops thrive. Here on our fields in northern Peru, we have been doing intensive agriculture by greening what was once a desert with a variety of trees that are native and non-native to Peru. By introducing these plants we are able to conserve the local flora and fauna and also provide indirect benefits to our blueberry crops. Carolina Aguilar, a member of our on-site crew of agronomists, took us on a tour recently to point out some of the most notable green additions.
These tall, wispy trees are seen bordering our blueberry crops as, like an older sibling, they protect smaller, more delicate plants (i.e. blueberries) from dust.
Similar to Casuarinas, these trees are strong enough to withstand the dust and harsh winds that sweep across our desert land and thus act as a shield for our crops and other small neighboring plants.
Native to northern Peru, this lovely tree draws a diverse collection of unique birds. It’s also a typical habitat for the lagartijas, a quick moving lizard. Though the algarrobos don’t directly benefit the blueberries, by planting the trees it goes hand in hand with the value for conservation by promoting a rich habitat for wildlife.
4. Paraiso (Melia azedarach)
There’s also medicinal plants that naturally prevent plagues such as the paraiso tree, commonly known by names such as bead-tree or syringa berry tree. The Paraiso tree has small and fragrant flowers with petals that grow in clusters. Hummingbirds usually feed on and pollinate the flowers. These tall trees also make great shade especially during summer times when the weather reaches very high temperatures.
5. Molle Costeño
Many birds feed on the seeds of the Molle, so they make a great addition to our surrounding fields. They grow quickly, adapt easily to different kinds of soil and resist harsh dry seasons. Their seeds can be used as bioinsecticide for plague control and they provide fresh and pure air to the atmosphere.
6. Cedro rosado
Cedro trees are resistant to strong winds and act as amazing windbreakers for berry plants. Their great foliage produce diffuse shades which makes it ideal for fauna.