Reforestation with regeneration nuclei in the Colombian Andes

2016 CEColombia

"The Yariguíes ridge, which reaches an elevation of 3200m and forms part of the central Andes range in the department of Santander, is a transitional climatic zone and includes oak-dominated forest, moist forest and Páramo habitats. Whereas the southern portion of the Yariguíes range was declared a national park in 2005, protecting more than 70,000 ha of the large watershed, the northern half has remained vulnerable to exploitation and is the principal source of water for Zapatoca, San Vicente, Betulia and other regional towns. Extensive conversion of forested habitat to pasture has impacted the northern portion of this catchment basin, and steep slopes have resulted in heavy erosion and loss of topsoil. We are in the process of restoring 30-35 ha of degraded habitat by planting patches of trees or regeneration nuclei. This method provides several advantages over traditional plantation-style planting: 1) it mimics the natural form of forest recovery, creating more habitat heterogeneity; 2) areas in between forested patches will recover passively and can provide space for enrichment planting of later successional species once a canopy cover has formed; and 3) a considerably larger area can be reforested using this method, reducing the cost of restoration/hectare."