Natural forest regeneration as a low-cost climate change solution:

Natural forest regeneration, according to a study undertaken by an international group of scientists, offers a low-cost solution to solving this problem.

Deforestation is hastening the disappearance of tropical forests -forests-, resulting in global warming and the effects on ecosystems that this entails; however, an international group of scientists has conducted a study that concludes that natural forest regeneration is a low-cost alternative to remedying this problem.

Dr. Juan Manuel Dupuy, a researcher at CICY’s Natural Resources Unit and co-author of an article published in the international journal Science, made the announcement. Natural restoration, he said, has immediate benefits because, 20 years after they begin to grow, these developing forests reach an average of 80% of the fertility, carbon storage capacity in the soil, and tree diversity seen in mature forests.

Ecologists from all across the world participated in this study, which looked at the recovery of 12 forest qualities during natural regeneration and how each attribute’s recovery relates to the others. They did it by combining data from 77 landscapes and over 2,200 forest plots spread over tropical America and West Africa.

Dr. Lourens Poorter, lead author of the study and research professor at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, says: “While it is critical to continue to actively protect old forests and limit the spread of deforestation, tropical forests may be able to regenerate organically on deforested land. These growing forests cover vast swaths of land and can help to achieve local and global ecosystem restoration goals. They provide global-scale benefits for climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as numerous other services for local populations, including water, fuel, timber, and other non-timber forest products.”

Dr. Dylan Craven of Universidad Mayor in Chile, the study’s second author, noted that “We looked at how different forest qualities recover in relation to one another. Maximum tree size, forest structure heterogeneity, and tree species diversity were determined to be reliable markers of the recovery of a variety of forest features. These three indicators are simple to calculate and can be used to track the progress of forest restoration. By using remote sensing, we can now monitor tree size across broad areas and over long periods of time.”

Finally, Dr. Juan Manuel Dupuy elaborated on his findings “Because there is no such thing as a “silver bullet,” or a single, ideal restoration approach, a combination of passive and active restoration may be required. Natural regeneration and assisted natural regeneration, as well as agroforestry and plantation forestry, are among the options.

The best solution is determined by the site’s local conditions, as well as the demands of its residents, all of which must be analyzed, consulted, and agreed upon. We can construct more natural, biodiverse, and resilient landscapes using more integrated information and a combination of varied methodologies.”


Article Author Gerluxe  Image: irishtimes