Scientific research for better restoration
Partner since 2018
Biodiversity loss, climate change, and rural poverty are global threats driven by the unsustainable exploitation of natural ecosystems. To reduce the risks these threats pose to humankind, effective restoration of forests worldwide is necessary. Yet a considerable proportion of restoration efforts fail. For instance, trees are planted in soils that cannot support them, or at the wrong density or diversity levels, so that healthy forests cannot survive. It is not just financial, legal and political constraints that stand in the way of success, but a limited ecological knowledge and the skills to wield that knowledge effectively. Restoration officers across the world urgently need access to basic information about the ecological status of their respective regions in order to make ecologically-informed restoration decisions.
Crowther Lab is a research group that generates this knowledge. Their research can provide restoration officers worldwide with maps of important ecological information about their local region, and with immediate access to free information about the carbon storage potential in their local region, along with the biodiversity of trees, soil microbes and animals that is necessary to store this carbon. This way they will be able to develop restoration strategies with a far higher likelihood of success.
Such ecological information is urgently needed by thousands of restoration campaigns, particularly in ‘hard-to-reach’ areas of the world that do not have access to cutting edge ecological resources. Rather than focusing on any single important restoration project, Crowther Lab’s research aims to facilitate many local campaigns across the world.
Enabling restoration officers worldwide to develop ecologically-informed restoration strategies by doing scientific research and generating knowledge that provides them with local maps of important ecological information, necessary to maximize the effectiveness of their efforts. It also will give them immediate access to free information about the carbon storage potential in their local region.
Born out of Crowther Lab and powered by Google, Restor is an open data platform, dedicated to enabling everyone, everywhere to engage in restoring the earth’s ecosystems. In time Restor hopes to be able to show the entire movement and progress in the restoration of ecosystems. Watch the video.
Our partner GCBR (The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve) works on the improvement and resilience of the rural economy and ecosystem of the Little Karoo in South Africa by restoring severely degraded thicket by planting Spekboom back into the landscape. However, as it is labour intensive process, current Spekboom restoration efforts are costly. Crowther Lab and Gouritz are now exploring a possible collaboration, in which Crowther Lab can help find alternative restoration methods in the Little Karoo region.
– forest © Martin Ciboch – unsplash