Forests should not be restored with pine trees
“Pine trees used to reforest devastated lands in Colombia turn into natural barriers for birds and wild animals.”Medellín, 07 de julio de 2016 — Agencia de Noticias UN-
Tree by tree reforestation is too expensive for areas greater than one hectare. Photo: Taken from: www.google.com.courlsa
Jaime Hering Polanía, Professor of the Faculty of Agrarian Sciences and leader of the expert’s visit.
As stated by Dr. Rakan Zahawi, Director of Las Cruces Biological Station in Costa Rica who has worked in reforestation of rainforests during all his career in countries in Central and South America, such as Honduras and Ecuador.
The researcher which visited Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Medellín said that pine trees are commonly used by forest engineers because they grow fast and are very marketable. So instead of having 400 or 500 species in a tropical forest per hectare, they only have one species in the same piece of land.
For him from the commercial point of view, planting pine trees is a good decision, but it goes against biology as massive planting of pine trees does not represent the habitat for birds or bats of the region.
Actually what this type of massive planting does is create a great obstruction to natural reforestation, which consists of planting small amounts of trees and let seed dispersing birds complete the job.
Natural reforestation in a specific area can take between 80 and 100 years depending on the damage to the soil, therefore in some circumstances human intervention is necessary.
Typically when reforesting areas due to indiscriminate tree felling or forest fires people plant many trees trying to cover the area with species ready to grow.
According to Zahawi this poses a problem as this technic is expensive and there is the risk that these plants do not grow or survive due to the abiotic condition of the land. What needs to be done is first place natural barriers to accumulate organic matter so the land can recover and only after that may they begin to plant species.
The technique used by the expert and replicated by the UNal–Medellin Forest Preservation Seedbed consists of planting native trees only in a small portion of a land plot so dispersing birds and other animals spread the seeds to the rest of the field. This reduces reforestation costs and restores the naturalness of the lost ecosystems.
“The deforestation surge during the last 50 years has been high and inclusively some areas of Colombia are not even productive for agricultural projects; furthermore if we are to comply with the goals set by governments and forestation world agencies, we need to lower costs as it is almost impossible to renovate areas tree by tree, therefore we suggest planting the minimum necessary and the rest of the process be carried out by bats, birds and other forest animals,” he said.(Por: FIN/AGG/MLA