Alchemy of the Arts
REFORESTATION AND REGENERATION PROJECT
As we come to 2019 we have vast information exemplifying the need to care for our planet. Beyond need, AOTA stands to engage in a healthy relationship with the land it guards. We are seeking to regenerate, to add more into the ground and environment than what we take out of it. This entails us cultivating the rainforest, tending to it as if it were our own garden. Why would we need to further our engagement with rainforest? Most scientist would argue to leave mother nature alone and to allow her natural cycles to take care of the overall health. While we know she is wiser than we can ever be, we seek to remediate the negative impact we, mankind, have already created. By simply assisting with the natural cycles that we have interrupted in the past we stand to remedy the imbalance of some of these ecosystems.
REGENERATION OF SECONDARY RAINFOREST
In our latest development pursuit in the South Pacific side of Costa Rica we have identified a problem that is currently being addressed in the wrong way and are applying new solutions.
A secondary forest is a forest which has re-grown after a timber harvest, until a long enough period has passed so that the effects of the disturbance (often slash and burn here) are no longer evident.
Secondary rainforests can actually when left alone sequester between 50-80% of the carbon of a primary rainforest. What this means is that this is vital to our impact in combating climate change.
What was observed on site was something challenging and hard to see. To many it would appear to be a healthy and thriving forest. What I saw was severely lacking biodiversity and habitat and sickly trees growing without a formed canopy. In many 2000 sq m samples observed I found less than 5 species of trees. These trees are fast growing pioneer species that can be beautifully helpful to the soil as often they are nitrogen fixers or soft wood that is brittle and breaks easily to create biomass for the soil.
My hypothesis is that this would absolutely return one day to a healthy forest, but this could take 1000’s of years. This is because many of the fruit/food for the forest animals and hardwoods are slow growing and easily shaded out in the competition for light. I found the shape of many of the trees to be twisted in form with little to no canopy and very little foliage.
On top of this we found trees fully covered in multiple species of “Mata Palo” (Kill Tree), a type of parasitic plant and vines that had fully engulfed the trees and the canopy allowing very little light to penetrate to the upper canopy let alone the understory below. Of Course! Obviously when everything was cut 50 and 25 years ago, Everything regenerates at the same time which is obviously not natural. A vine will grow twice as fast as a tree in a year and thus will ride the back of these trees. This stress was lending to 25 year old trees having the width and form of a 10 year old tree with no sign throughout the year of flowering or fruiting.
We have taken 3 small sections (1acre or less) of our 600 acre forest we are preserving and are using it as our testing ground. Our hypothesis is to tend to the forest like a garden. Some of these fast growing trees which are abundant in numbers are out competing anything that may provide both habitat and food for the forest. We have begun to remove the vines and are currently scaling to the top of the canopies to carefully prune and sculpt as needed the canopies for faster regeneration just before the new moon so most of the energy is found in its roots. We are also removing the Mata Palo and removing sick or dying trees that are competing for the same nutrients and sunlight. We are processing already fallen trees and spreading the rotten logs around the ones we most seek to help to further decomposition of the forest and return nutrients back to the soil.
I would tell you that prior I thought it would take a few years to see the results. Well, in just 4-6 weeks we are seeing first flowers and a huge resurgence in foliage. We are ecstatic for the results and are looking to provide more impericle evidence to strengthen our case to perhaps adjust policy for the way we can further research in the care of secondary forests.
We will now be producing heat signatures of a healthy canopy in contrast with this unhealthy forest to determine temperatures that can reflect the results of a healthy and happy forests providing us the metrics to determine the results.
In conjunction working with Jenny at Community Carbon Trees we will plant 500+ trees just for the forest this year. Through a combination of strategies and partnering with the university and government representatives we will host the first meeting for the National Forestry Office, Center for Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Energy, and Analogue forestry groups for the first time to sit together.
We hope to strategize new solutions to current policies that allows corrupt illegal logging to exist. We must find a way to support this industry through a transition and provide a future for forests and continued reforestation efforts.
For more information contact us directly.