Assisted natural regeneration of forests
ANR is a broad concept and includes a range of different activities. In order to adress the specific needs of a site it is recommendable to implement ANR site-specificly. Techniques and interventions will vary greatly from place to place depending on the specific ecological and socio-cultural needs. Mother trees that will spread seeds in the degraded area intended to be reforestated are however always needed in ANR.
In order to obtain successful results it is crucial to involve local communities. ANR can be planned so that the activities and their results benefit stakeholders by providing increased resources and opportunities.
|Photo: A stand of natural forest in the background provides seeds for the ANR site in the foreground. Bataan, Northern Luzon, the Philippines.||Photo: A fireline.|
The following activities are examples of ANR activities:
Liberation and tending of desirable woody species:
When desirable wood and brush species are detected, surrounding weedy vegetation will be cut and/or uprooted to reduce competition for light, water and nutrients. Once the desired number of wildlings has been marked and ring-weeded, the suppression of other weedy vegetation throughout the site is the next critical step. In addition to reducing competition, weed suppression reduces fire hazard and makes movement at the site easier. Applying fertilizer, thinning, and transplanting healthy thinned wildlings are other options that may be included if the number of wildlings is less than desired. Conditions will vary by site. However, a target of around 500 to 800 wildings per hectare is normally adequate to ensure establishment of a stable second-growth forest and eventual restoration of a dense forest cover.
The pressing technique
One method applied to facilitate liberation of desirable wildlings is by using the so-called pressing technique. The pressing is done by stepping on lightweight wooden boards about 15–30 cm wide and 100–120 cm long placed against the grass. (Fig. 2). A rope is fixed to each end of the board and looped over the shoulders. The rope handle is used to lift the board, and then it is laid on top of grass and pressed down by stepping. In this process, the grass shoots are pressed down but not broken because the breaking of the stem results in rapid tillering (Sajise, 1972). Pressing should be done at the beginning and end of the rainy season when the grass stems are soft. If done properly, the flattening effect of pressing can last up to three months and in some cases as long as six months. A steady worker can usually complete 1 ha in five days or 40 working hours, roughly half the time it takes to cut the grass with a bladed tool.
To protect an area from forest fires vegetation should be cut on perimeters surrounding and project site and in corridors ranging in width from 10-12 meters.
Fences for regulating overgrazing:
Overgrazing is many times a hindrance to the growth of seedlings and small trees that will mature into a stable forest cover. Establishing fences helps to protect the areas intended for ANR from livestock grazing.
Patrol groups controlling illegal logging:
Patrol groups may be established to prevent illegal logging.
Supplementary planting to increase stocking and species diversity within the target ANR area may be necessary if the number of naturally-occuring wildlings is low (e.g. < 500-800 per ha).
Actively engage communities in selecting fire-break species, and developing different incentives for increased community participation.
Documenting ANR impacts:
Monitoring and reporting ANR impacts on local biodiversity, water regime and quality and carbon sequestration in order to support the development of payments for ecosystem services or other financial mechanisms for sustainable ANR implementation.
|Photo: People working with pressing grass and tending desirable seedlings. Bohol, Philippines.|
Photo: The stand of natural forest is providing seeds for the degraded lands in the backgrounds undergoing ANR. Bohol, Philippines.