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Gauging what it takes to heal a disaster-ravaged forest
Date:2/24/2014

bined with that from satellite imagery.

What was found was that much of the natural areas were on the road to recovery, and that China's $17 million effort at replanting native trees and bamboo were helping in areas handicapped by poor soil and growing conditions.

They also noted that such efforts could benefit from more targeting of areas most favored by pandas. The replanting efforts were done by local residents.

"We witnessed pretty intense periods when it seemed like everyone in the target areas were out planting," said co-author Vanessa Hull, a CSIS doctoral candidate who studies panda habitat in Wolong. "My field assistants also joined in on the village-wide efforts. It was pretty neat to see."

But a potential downside to such efforts was that most of the available labor was near villages, and pandas shy from human contact. That meant that some of the best assisted-forest recovery was in areas not favored by pandas. Hull noted, however, that there could be an upside to that. Healthier forests could mean local residents have less need to venture into more far-flung panda-friendly forests.

"We wanted to know if the benefit of this effort was matching up to the investment which was significant," Hull said. "It's an important question, and the world needs good ways to evaluate it as natural disasters are growing in frequency and intensity."


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Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-432-0206
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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