Thanks to the guidance of our partner PPA, DAF team and PAMO staff, with the help of local taubuids, we were able to achieve a lot in the past few weeks towards the establishment of a permaculture-based system for food production and habitat restoration at Station 2 in Mounts Iglit-Baco Natural Park.
The remodelling of station 2 base camp area is moving on with water canals and a gravel and stone filtering system now irrigating garden stripes.
In the landing area, the fire breaker was completed and hopefully will prevent the fire used by residing communities for farming and habitat management purposes to spread over during this dry season. Surprisingly, the number of pioneer trees hidden within the grassland appears much bigger than expected, suggesting that promoting their survival could quickly give way to an open forest and boost natural habitat regeneration. Pioneer plant species are the first to colonize disturbed or damaged landscapes and are therefore crucial for ecosystem regeneration.
Indeed, nearly 150 pioneer trees belonging to more than ten different species have already arose from the tall grass being cut to give place to food forest stripes and soil regenerative island patches, suggesting that more than 600 trees are waiting for an opportunity to grow within the 6ha of the area allocated to the system. Most of them display new secondary stems growing from the stump of the original mother stem, burned during previous fires, highlighting that this process restarts at every fire episode, preventing the trees to emerge above the samong samong (kangaroo grass, Themeda triandra), cogon (Imperata cylindrica) and talahib (wild sugarcane, Saccarhum spontaneum) that compose most the grassland. The assisted natural regeneration technique will be mostly used to promote survival of the pioneer trees located within the habitat restoration component, while the other pioneer trees will be complemented by other pioneer species, azote fixing plants then fruit trees and root crops in the food forest component.
This work is supported by UKAID DARWIN Initiative in collaboration with REWILD.