|The basic concept
They consists of actions designed to restore the composition, structure and function of a natural ecosystem in lands currently modified by humans. These actions are carried out at different levels.
They are applied to sites that are totally degraded (pastures for cattle ranching, unproductive crops, eroded zones, etc.) to ecosystems in different recovery stages, for example, second growth forests or jungles in early restoration process, o secondary forests with a long period of natural rehabilitation (15-20 years “abandoned” field).
There are many concepts about restoration. Some consider that restoration is oriented towards recovery of the ecosystem's original structure, composition and function, i.e. pre-disturbance.
Others view restoration as increasing and helping the auto-recuperation process that all ecosystems have (natural succession process), aiming to create a natural community adapted to the new ecological conditions of the site.
Efectiveness of the restoration actions applied in this site: in 2009, it was completely weeded and cleared of invasive fern. Different techniques have been applied in 2010 and 2011 and show good progress and fast growing of the planted trees. In 2012 the development of the species is hiding the property.
The difference of focus lies in whether or not to replicate the orige original structure, composition and function. Rarely are the original conditions known before the site is disturbed. Use of a reference structure implies looking at the ecosystem as a static structure. We do consider that ecosystems are unique and irreplicable; as a result a restored site won’t have the same structure, function and composition, and sometimes won’t even look like the reference site. We treat restoration as an adaptation of flora, fauna and natural communities to the new climatic conditions following the disturbance. The actions are oriented to facilitate the recovery process in its different steps.
Thanks to the kind support of Dr. Ademir Reis and Dra. Deysi Tres, their collaborators (www.biodiversita.com.br) and the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brasil (www.lras.ufsc.br, Laboratório de Restauração Ambiental Sistêmica), we are applying and adapting forest restoration techniques called Nucleation.
Nowadays, there is a social worry about the loss of forests. This has led to investments in reforestation, restoration, recovery, etc., although, the results and the efficiency of those projects are insufficiently analyzed, ecologically speaking. The trees are counted, but not the diversity of species, nor functional groups, interactions, recovery of native species, etc.
It is important that the investments come along with indicators of ecological impacts. It’s not always necessary to reforest in order to restore. Sometimes, shrubs and grasses can contribute to create the initial temperature and humidity conditions so that the late-succesional species can grow.