The reforestation projects we support in Sumatra all use assisted natural regeneration to restore areas of land that have been degraded. This because although simply planting the trees and leaving them to it would be less expensive, there are several reasons why assisting the process has better outcomes.
Nature cannot be separated from people, and so involvement of and benefit to local communities is vital in ensuring that a restored forest remains protected long-term. Additionally, a lot of seed dispersal relies on animals and birds which may have long ago disappeared from a degraded area, so natural regeneration doesn’t always happen as quickly as it would if these species were present.
With this in mind, a key lesson for the students at Leuser Nature School is tree growth monitoring. They have been carrying this out on a monthly basis since August this year, and they are all really enthusiastic about it. They learn how to accurately measure a tree's growth and how to record and analyse the data. As the school is based at a restoration site, they are also exposed to real world examples of why this process is so important in helping areas of land become functioning ecosystems once more.
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