An area of 300 acres degraded forest land was restored in northern Thailand.
The Soneva Forest Restoration project followed the Framework Species Method of Forest Restoration set by the Forestry Research & Restoration Unit (FORRU) at Chiang Mai University, Thailand.
This method involves planting 20-30 indigenous tree species specially selected for their ability to rapidly shade out weeds and attract seed-dispersing wildlife.
90 different species were used in the Soneva Forest Restoration project, which will ensure it becomes a rich biodiverse forest rather than a plantation.
Birds and mammals, attracted to the plots, will bring with them the seeds of many other forest trees and thus help to re-establish a species-rich forest tree community similar to that of the original forest.
Planted trees restore forest structure, whilst the animals attracted to them restore biodiversity.
Three main sites were restored:
- Doi Pha Mah, Sri Lanna National Park, Chiang Mai
- The Royal Project Nong Hoi, Chiang Mai
- Pai River Wildlife Sanctuary, Mae Hong Son
At Doi Pha Mah 160,000 trees of 30 different species were planted in 2011 covering 100 acres. The two other sites were planted in 2012 with 78 and 90 species respectively covering 200 acres in total.
Currently maintenance work is being conducted to ensure the trees are strong enough to manage on their own.
Overall survival rate is at 87%, which is considered good. Especially considering that the Doi Pha Mah site was a former manganese mining area with poor soil condition.
255,000 tons CO2
The project will mitigate an estimated 255,000 tons CO2 over its 40 years lifetime. This takes into consideration a 70% survival rate and with the progress so far the figure is likely to be higher.
A key factor to the higher survival rate is that PATT Foundation, the organization that planted the trees, is doing ongoing maintenance of the trees three years after being planted.
Along with the main funder of the project, SLOW LIFE Foundation, PATT is collaborating with UK schools to make sure the project goes beyond just a number of trees planted but survives to become proper restored forests.
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