Assisted natural regeneration of forests
It has been demonstrated that ANR is a cost effective and a near to natural way to restore indigenous forests, biodiversity and ecosystem services. In some instances ANR has proven to be 50-90% cheaper compared to conventional reforestation as long as it does not involve planting of trees. By using ANR high nursery and planting costs are avoided. However, ANR is labor-intensive and requires nearly constant maintenance of selected forest areas for 5-7 years in terms of tending the desirable tree species seedlings. Maintenance costs reduce significantly once canopies close, thus shading out Imperata and other fire-prone grasses. But as in all other forest management situations, protection against poaching, illegal cutting and conversion needs to be sustained.
Photo: The stand of natural forest is providing seeds for the degraded lands in the backgrounds undergoing ANR. Bohol, Philippines.
ANR is achieved through the application of a combination of technological and social interventions. ANR may be effective as a community project, and people involved may see significant benefits and jobs if funding is available. However, if the forest restoration is not a positive change, for example if the land is needed for food, the people of the community will be reluctant to get involved and produce successful ANR.