3 1/2 years after Hurricane Maria devastated the Pterocarpus Forest, its rebirth has been taking place slowly, naturally. Its canopy to this day remains severely compromised, which inhibits its return to its original state, as light goes directly to the Forest floor impacting ecosystem and habitat. The Friends of the Forest want to plant 50 new, native trees, including the namesake Pterocarpus to spur reforestation, induce the restoration of the canopy and the return of its flora and fauna.
In the 3 years since Hurricane Maria devastated the Pterocarpus Forest, we restored public access as nature took its course toward recovery. However, the replacement of thousands of lost trees, destruction of habitat and the loss of large sections of the vital forest canopy, could take many more years, left to natural regeneration, allowing the proliferation of invasive plant and animal species that could threaten the Forest's long-term viability and stability.
The successful planting of 100 trees, native species, will be a small contribution to solving the problems of the loss of thousands of trees and the destruction of the canopy. This step also helps natural ecosystem and habitat restoration, by making the forest less hospitable for certain invasive animal and plant species and more hospitable to native ones. As we face unprecedented turmoil and change, this Forest renewal project also will help to restore, for us, stability, beauty and hope.
In the long-term, the planting of 100 new trees will lead to the return of some of the animal and plant species, including migratory bird species, whose presence has been diminished or which have disappeared due to the hurricane's destructiveness. The new trees can also mitigate some of the long-term damage caused by the disappearance of the forest's vital canopy, a component essential for the survival of this unique ecosystem, as they contribute to the canopy's revival.