The best way to learn ecosystem restoration is through fieldwork, getting your hands dirty, planting trees, walking the forests, germinating seeds, and sharing with the local community.
Nine ecology and biology students experienced this along with master’s student Ledis Arango and professor José Ignacio Barrera-Cataño from the Pontifical Xavierian University. We visited farms and areas in restoration in the municipalities of El Líbano and Murillo, in the north of the department of Tolima, Colombia, between 24 and 28 October 2022.
During the five days, we analyzed the landscape elements of the mountains of Tolima and visited areas being restored from our project “Sustainable landscapes for the Tolima dove (Leptotila conoveri) and the yellow-headed brushfinch (Atlapetes flaviceps).”
During the week, we also studied the steps that make up an ecological restoration project, talked about plant species, and discussed the importance of monitoring in restoration processes.
There was no better way to conclude than by putting into practice what they had learned in the classroom. On a rainy day, we planted more than 60 trees to expand the gallery forest: we delimited the area, made contour lines, learned how to plant the trees, and recorded their starting height.
To end the week on a high note, we shared a moment with the local community. Together with the SELVA Foundation, they are creating other effective conservation measures (OMEC – otras medidas efectivas de conservación), involving 67 farms covering approximately 3,000 hectares. The students learned about alternative conservation methods, and we forged ties to develop future joint work in the region.
Thank you for this week in which we experienced ecosystem restoration together!
P.S. The puppies Niebla and Negro were adopted and are now enjoying a good life.