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Deforestation and the degradation of forests continue to cause serious problems in many regions of the world. The situation is particularly acute with the tropical forests in Asia and the Pacific. A variety of measures have been tried in the past to address the problem, with varying degrees of success. Among the silvicultural tools employed is assisted natural regeneration (ANR), a variation of enrichment planting which was first developed for tropical forests with poor natural regeneration. Assisted natural regeneration however, has not received the attention it deserves. The technology is based on the ecological principle of secondary forest succession, utilizes natural processes, and promotes the regeneration of indigenous species. Because ANR relies on natural processes, it is especially effective in restoring and enhancing biological diversity and ecological processes.

Assisted natural regeneration has been well developed in the Philippines, and as a result, it is now being utilized extensively to restore former forested areas that have become degraded and covered by Imperata cylindrica grass. The same principles are also being used to address the problems of poor regeneration in logged over forests in several other Southeast Asian countries. The value of the ANR techniques is that it is easily understood by the field staff, species of best economic value and good silvicultural properties are used, and costs of production, planting and tending are kept minimal.

FAO has been promoting these techniques widely in the region, through long term demonstration plots, study tours and technology transfer. To highlight the opportunities and potential of ANR, FAO and partner organizations convened a workshop and study tour in the Philippines in April 2002. The discussions and presentations at the workshop underscore the importance of ANR in the broader context of sustainable forest management and the potential for cost-effective rehabilitation of forestlands through more aggressive implementation of ANR. To enhance awareness and understanding of the concepts and practices of ANR, and to encourage wider application, FAO is pleased to publish and disseminate this compilation of papers highlighting experiences with ANR in the region. This publication includes selected papers dealing with the technical, environmental and social dimensions of ANR as well as papers describing country initiatives. The publication represents one element of FAO’s ongoing efforts to promote more effective forest rehabilitation and restoration for the benefit of local people.

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and
Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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