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Active Ecological Restoration – Small is Better!
Mother Nature knows how to restore itself – if we can avoid any disturbances & interferences. An ecological restoration method without human intervention can be called passive restoration. The passive restoration strategy may be ideal for large forested sites & sites surrounding existing forests – that way, no disturbances are caused to existing flora & fauna due to human activities.
But when it comes to human initiated & managed ecological restorations, or active ecological restoration, selecting smaller sites may give the best results. Here are the arguments why we at forest hut vote for smaller active restoration sites;
Multiple smaller sites in an eco-region give better control to identify site-specific plant species. This finer control to select plant species helps improve the survival rates of the saplings. Some of the site-specific attributes can be site location features (valley/ridge/water body vicinity), past & current usage, orientation, existing cover, etc.
Just like human young ones, plants when young can use all the care & love. Cattle grazing, field fires, long dry periods, human insensitivities are some of the common threats. If the site is small, it can be fenced until the saplings grow-up. It’s easier to irrigate & follow normal organic plant care practices.
Better Community Involvement
We’re living in times where we have to take up individual responsibility for our combined future. We cannot solely rely on government agencies and on corporates. Doing ecological restoration at smaller scale allows individuals to participate in more purposeful & tangible way. It provides an opportunity for each of us to be the hummingbird & be the change.
Typically, you will have multiple sites in an eco-region. Not necessarily, physically connected. The decentralized nature of the sites significantly reduces risk of complete wipe-out of the gene bank due to natural or man-made calamities.
Better Feedback Cycle
Smaller areas are easy to monitor. And it shortens the feedback cycle. Each new site in an eco-region will benefit from the learnings of the previous ones.
Combine all above, and we’re giving the best possible chance for a micro ecosystem to mature.
Define small? Well, look at the sacred groves. They vary in size, as small as 1 acre. And still host a great deal of biodiversity. We need to create more of these sacred groves, mini engines of nature, for the same purposes that they have been serving for centuries.