The influence of social factors on land restoration in rural development settings: watershed rehabilitation and wet meadow (bofedal) restoration in the highland Andes
I explored the following questions in this research: What are the key community development factors that facilitate or constrain local investments in land restoration? What is the role of off-farm economic opportunities that may distract from local investments in land restoration? What is the role of indigenous knowledge and attitudes in mediating decisions about local investments in land restoration? These questions were addressed at a watershed rehabilitation and wet meadow (bofedal) restoration program in the Bolivian Andes, where over 30,000 check dams, terraces and infiltration ditches were built since 1992. The research framework was a linked social and biophysical analysis: 1) selected social factors were used as inputs to predict restoration management intensity, and 2) restoration management intensity was then used as the input to predict biophysical indicators of restoration
success that may result from restoration management intensity. Household surveys and scenarios were used to measure the social factors, and remote sensing and ground measurement were used to measure biophysical indicators of restoration success. The results have potential implications for land restoration in community development settings.
Research conducted in collaboration with Nur University, the Dorothy Baker Environmental Studies Center (CEADB), and the Ayllu Majasaya-Aransaya-Urunsaya
Article links: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.12402/full ; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/rec.12347/full
The potential for climate-induced migration of tree species along elevation gradients in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Determined the extent to which tree species abundances were associated with elevation, site, and substrate related variables (soil characteristics, parent material, glacial history). One-hundred and ten plots established along three elevational transects (530-880 m) that included the transition from northern hardwoods to spruce-fir forest in the White Mountain National Forest.
Polylepis woodland restoration in the highland Andes
The Polylepis woodlands are endemic to the highland Andes, and grow at the highest elevation of any tree genus in the world. These woodlands are found as isolated remnants after 7,000-8,000 years of grazing, fire and wood harvest reduced the treeline from 4,100 m to 3,400 m. In addition to maintaining bird diversity, Polylepis woodlands provide dry season forage, medicinal plants, construction material, and in some cases, a venue for ecotourism. This study is located at three sites in Huascaran National Park, Peru. I used long-term plots established along transects to evaluate the effect of disturbance intensity (grazing, fire, wood harvest) and landform (rock fall, ravine, step slopes, moderate slopes) on tree regeneration and understory plant communities. Evidence suggests that high levels of disturbance impede regeneration, but that regeneration does occurr under light to moderate levels of disturbance, indicating rest-rotation grazing may be compatible with Polylepis restoration. Local people report that tourism revenue from park visitors is the primary motivating factor restore Polylepis woodlands, in contrast other areas where provision of dry season grazing and economically useful plants were the motivating factors.