When the pictures can tell the story...A forest restoration project.
Today we have a guest blog from Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden. (Full disclosure, I have spent many happy days in this place, and also do some photographic work for them on occasion).
I actually asked if they would share the amazing work they are doing on habitat and wildlife regeneration on the farm hillside, as I have watched this grow over the previous years....and I know how hard this is (also as a contrast to the mismanagement of Lions Nature Education Centre, with destroyed habitat and declining biodiversity....)
Let the pictures tell the story...scroll to the end farm image to see the amazing results.
"As part of our drive to better understand the factors that govern forest succession and constrain the restoration of ecosystem resilience, KFBG established a series of experimental forest restoration plots at the top of our site in 2013. Since the plots were set up, more than 60,000 tree seedlings representing more than 300 native species have been planted. All of these seedlings were raised in our nurseries from seeds collected in Hong Kong’s Country Parks. A seed collection number is assigned at the time of collection serves to permanently document the source of each tree. As far as possible, seeds of any one species are collected from multiple populations so as to maximise genetic diversity in the resulting forest.
In order to determine the best approach to planting trees for forest restoration, a number of different treatments have been trialled. Foremost amongst these has been the use of tree guards to protect the seedlings from herbivory, an intervention that has been found to greatly benefit seedling establishment and growth. To improve soil fertility, we trialled the use of different fertilisers and applied a mulch mixture containing compost and biochar. To suppress competition from surrounding grasses, we installed weeding mats made of coconut fibre. Over several consecutive years, we applied different combinations of these experimental treatments (tree guards, fertilisers, mulches and weeding mats) to an array of different tree species.
Ultimately, we hope to derive a set of tried and tested silvicultural methods for nurturing mixed native forest of regional, perhaps even global, relevance. By combining observations of remnant primary forests in the region, experimentation and adaptive planting, we hope to understand and remove barriers to successful tropical forest restoration".
If you have not yet been to the Farm, I do urge you to go and have a look....and they are running a great new membership scheme, where you can enjoy an array of exclusive benefits:
If you like their work, and would like to support this or one of their different programmes, then please consider making a donation.