Landowners Create a Diverse Landscape Matrix through Restoring Degraded Forest Remnants
Shankar Raman, TR, Divya Mudppa and Anand Osuri. Restoring Rainforest Remnants experiences from the Anamalai Hills. Current Conservation 12.1: 21-24.
The Valparai plateau in the Anamalai hills of the Western Ghats in India’s west coast is a fragmented landscape composed of tropical forest fragments in varying quality states, and surrounded by plantations of tea, coffee, eucalyptus, and cardamom, reservoirs, roads, and human settlements. The quality of these forest fragments is key for diversity conservation in the area and a source of multiple ecosystem services, like watershed and refugee for pollinators and natural predators of crop pests. Therefore, promoting sustainable management strategies is critical to maintain this benefits that forest patches provide. Since these patches belong to private lands, involving landowners in the sustainable management of these private lands is essential, and will promote a more diverse landscape matrix as well as the recovery of the most degraded forest remnants.
In this study the authors monitored and developed a reforestation project on private lands with the goal of assessing how native restoration in private lands can improve conservation. Owners and managers of the plantations were involved in the process leading to the endorsement of corporate social and environmental policies and the recognition and protection of 35 forest patches. In addition, the most degraded remnants went through active restoration activities. On the largest remnant patches, they restored the disturbed edges to improve conditions inthe interior forest areas. In total 25,000 saplings were planted. After 15 years, active restored fragments showed recovery of tree density, canopy height and carbon storage. Also, soil quality was increased in the restored areas. However, the restored sites did not resemble the mature forest, and natural plant colonization did not seem to happen in these areas. This study captures the importance of multiple use landscapes on conservation and how involving landholders on restoration activities can spread conservation to non-protected areas.
The PARTNERS connection
This article is part of a special PARTNERS issue of Current Conservation magazine. Current Conservation is published by an informal alliance of organizations to promote interdisciplinary research in conservation and to foster communication among scientists, students, resource managers, educators and policy makers. The six articles in this issue were written by PARTNERS members and focus on different aspects of forest restoration in the tropics. Each article is illustrated with unique artwork, infographics and photographic images from contributors across the world.