Management of the environmental restoration of degraded areas
This study shares the results of an experimental method for restoration of degraded forest areas through the construction of small restoration ‘islands’ within a larger site as an impetus for further natural regeneration. The method has previously been used in Namibia and Spain and is trademarked as Revitec. This study tests the method in Brazil in a former rainforest area. Rainforest fragments remain in the area.
Research goals & methods
Three degraded sites were prepared: one with six islands planted with vegetation; one with six unplanted islands; and a control area. Each island of approximately 2x2m is composed of six jute bags stuffed with 20kg of local soil and composted cow manure. The vegetated islands were planted with seedlings of Mimosa scabrella, Sebastiania commersoniana, and Allophylus edulis and sown with seeds of local pioneer species Desmodium adscendens, Vernonia nitidula, Aspilia montevidensis, and Schizachyrium condensatum. The islands remained stable despite periods of heavy rain. At the end of the six-month study period, 86 species were found in the areas with islands; Asteraceae and Poaceae were dominant. Soil pH and nutrient levels improved in the soils immediately adjacent to the islands compared to pre-experimental measurements. An increase in biodiversity was not observed in the control area.
Conclusions & takeaways
Based on these findings and prior success in Namibia and Spain, the authors argue that this method can be an effective low-cost restoration strategy in a variety of ecosystems.
Management of the environmental restoration of degraded areas. Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology. 2014;57:284–294. doi:10.1590/s1516-89132014000200018..
- Curso de Ciências Biológicas; Universidade Positivo; Curitiba, PR, Brazil
- Programa de Pós-graduação em Gestão Ambiental; Universidade Positivo; Curitiba, PR, Brazil
- Programa de Pós-graduação em Biotecnologial Curso de Ciências Biológicas; Universidade Positivo; Curitiba, PR, Brazil