This project is about the reforestation of impacted areas of the Guanica State Forest due to wildland fires and the 2017 hurricane season. This is a subtropical coastal-dry forest recognized by the UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve due to its high biodiversity and social context. It is also the critical habitat for 15 endangered species including 8 plants, 3 reptiles, 2 birds, 1 amphibian & 1 mammal. This important forest provides ecosystem services to the community and over 500k/yr visitors.
The Guanica State Forest is a natural protected area subject to recent impacts by wildland fires and 2017 hurricane season that caused the loss of billions of trees island wide. The loss of forest canopy and tree mortality by hurricanes Irma and Maria induced changes in the ecosystem that are detrimental to the native and endemic fauna and flora including 15 threatened & endangered species. Invasive grasses are colonizing the impacted landscape promoting more wildland fires in the dry season.
By selective and planned reforestation with native tree species we can assist in forest regeneration. As forest canopy increases it reduces the direct sunlight received in the exposed ground. This promotes a natural control of invasive species reducing the risk of wildland fires, while the planted trees grow enough to produce shade and habitat (shelter and food). These funds will provide for additional forest restoration, maintenance, watering and invasive species control.
PDC has a co-management agreement with the PR Department of Natural and Environmental Resources (DNER) for the long-term stewardship of the Guanica State Forest (GSF). PDC has DNER permits and procedures approved for seed collection and tree propagation in the GSF. PDC manages a nursery with the capacity of 65K trees/year with a diversity of 100+ different tree/plant species. These donations will provide resources for site preparation, planting and long-term maintenance to guarantee success.