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Researchers restore rainforest

31.03.2008

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A team of US researchers has successfully restored an area of tropical rainforest in Costa Rica.

The land had been cleared of trees 50 years earlier and used to graze cattle.

Despite years of being trampled under hooves and having its nutrients washed away by the rain, the soil is now supporting tree life again.

Carl Leopold and his team of researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute planted seeds from a mix of local species and cut back the pasture grass until the young trees could fend for themselves.

After just five years, the trees were already forming a canopy that could protect the ground underneath from the rainfall.

"One of the really amazing things is that our fast-growing tree species are averaging two meters of growth per year," Mr Leopold said.

His team believes the growth is made possible by the presence of fungi in the soil that has survived despite the battering it has received over the years.

The research offers hope in the battle to save the world's rainforest, as traditionally, restoring a rainforest ecosystem after land had been cleared was not thought to be possible.


This news item is brought to you by KMS Baltics in conjunction with Fest-Forest and EST KINNISVARA. Baltic forestry and property specialists.


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