Here is what I'm thinking based on all of our experience and knowledge. I'd like to brainstorm on it.
This method I'm thinking of would take more time for the first planting but I think if you had a strong start in a 10 foot diameter area, it would
allow you to expand without as much work.
Based on the video that I posted above the guy that reforested started growing his own trees
in pots because he had better luck with that over the seeds.
So I think the ideal thing would be to:
1. Start the tree seeds at home - do a few nitrogen fixing trees, a few deciduous trees, a few fruit trees
2. Start rooting some cuttings - Pomegranate, olive, fig, mulberry (I've gotten mulberry to grow on very little water)
3. start other plants by seed or cuttings that would be more successful as as putting out as a plant rather than a seed like lemongrass, rosemary, mint, oregano,
4. collect a handful of soil from places that are lush with vegetation that already have some of the trees your are planting. Make sure that soil is in the pots with the seeds.
Once the rainy season starts and you've had a little rain first, go to the area to reforest.
1. Start planting guilds heavily in a small 10 foot diameter and you could spread out as you have more plants and seeds. I think the guilds and the close
planting helps to keep moisture in and multiple diverse plants support themselves - especially when the area is so degraded.
2. Dig swale or two so that the area will really soak in the rain. Plant the first fruit tree on that berm next to swale in that newly dug up swale.
3. Bring a truck of mulch.
4. Put down the mulch first. (I've read that this is better that planting then putting down mulch as far as results)
5. Plant fruit tree in the middle. Plant 4 nitrogen bushes/trees around that fruit tree but about 3 feet away. Make sure one can nurse the
fruit tree so plant it so it will give it dapple shade during day.
6. Plant everything else within the 10 foot diameter in between and see what ends up taking. If there is mulch and you are planting seeds, move the mulch put in the seed and cover with a bit of soil. Don't put the mulch back on that part.
7. Things you could plant but you don't have to do all - borage, chamomile, dikon radish, lemongrass, chicory, rosemary, garlic, yarrow, comfrey, sweet potato, geranium, oregano, mint, artichoke, mint, rhubarb, nasturtium, daffodil. Some of these will be by seed and some will be plants that you grew and have good roots)
I can draw a picture and post it if it helps to see it on paper.
Drop in some worms and soil that you've taken from healthy forested areas for the microbes.
See what takes and does well and tweak it - or expand it by starting another guild close by that would touch this one.
It is a lot more work than what you have been doing but I suspect that the strength of the guild and plants would be 10 times faster with regeneration.