The project welcomes Dr. Trevor Caughlin as a new collaborator with the Program of Organiculture. Dr. Caughlin is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, who will be conducting a three year research project on the Azuero Peninsula. The aim of his work is study the interplay between landowner decision-making and forest regeneration, which can inform management plans for large-scale restoration.
The restoration of ecosystem functions in deforested tropical areas is necessary to sustain human well-being, conserve biodiversity and store carbon. Such restoration is difficult, given it requires increase in tree coverage at a very large scale, from landscapes to entire regions. When reforestation efforts become this big, the success of reforestation depends on both social and ecological factors. In the Azuero Peninsula, and many other landscapes in Latin America, the greatest potential for reforestation is in cattle pasture located on privately-owned land. Consequently, whether or not landowners decide to enable trees to return is paramount.
Dr. Caughlin is currently conducting workshops with landowners in a different communities of the region, to assess landowner interest in reforestation and better understand how forest cover could return to the Azuero Peninsula. We are overjoyed to be able to support his project, which aligns so closely with the mission of our organization, and are excited to see the process and results over the coming months and years, which we will continue to share.