Regenerating Tropical Forests


This article by Christine Buckley appeared in UCONN Today. Here’s an excerpt. FOllow the link below to continue reading.

Researchers and nonprofit leaders representing 14 countries convened at UConn last week to begin work on a global five-year, multidisciplinary project to help scientists, governments, and peoples around the world understand and plan for sustainable and socially responsible tropical forest regrowth.

“For a long time scientists have observed deforestation in the tropics, in which you see forest cover going down,” said the project’s principal investigator, Professor Robin Chazdon of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB). “But for a variety of reasons, deforestation rates are now slowly declining. In some cases forests are now coming back, and it’s urgent that we act to bring these forests back in the best ways we can.”

Called PARTNERS, which stands for People and Reforestation in the Tropics: a Network for Education, Research, and Synthesis, the project is supported by a five-year, $440,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

Professor Robin Chazdon addresses a group of researchers and nonprofit professionals from around the world at the kick-off workshop for the PARTNERS tropical reforestation workshop. (Christine Buckley/UConn Photo)
What makes the project unique, says co-PI Mike Willig, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and director of the UConn Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering, is that it brings together not only ecologists and environmental scientists, but social scientists, such as economists, anthropologists, political scientists, and sociologists, to determine the best practices for forest regeneration.

The researchers hailed from Brazil, Mexico, Australia, India, Britain, the Netherlands, and many other nations.

“The purpose of the project is to bring people together who have not heretofore collaborated,” noted Willig, “and represent multiple disciplines from the continents that have tropical forests and beyond.

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