Monkey Forest Tales: International Forest Day

On March 21st we celebrate the International Forest Day, a date to rise awareness about forest protection of our native forest. Usually when we talk about forest, we usually think about large extensions of forest without paying much attention to the importance of small areas/ patches of forest that are also important. Those small forest are particularly important from the perspective of connectivity and water conservation in many productive systems.
In highly fragmented areas, such as Zocay Project study area, forest are perceived by landowners as a source of resources for human activities, such as firewood and wood for poles, or as unproductive land that need to be transformed.
During the past 19 years in the study area of Zocay Project, we had supported the use of living fences to connect small forest, reforestation, natural regeneration and we highlight the importance to fence forest areas to control livestock effects on plant regeneration inside forest fragments. However when working in private lands, we need to be flexible and sensible about the main productive activity developed in those areas and be aware that those activities had an impact that not always can be avoided and find ways of mitigate those impacts.
For example, in some cases cattle ranching areas need poles’ changes and in most cases those poles are cut from small fragments inside the same property. This is something that can affect and influence behaviors and ecology of many species, however we can advice landowners in terms of areas where those extractions may have less effects despite the impact of those activities.
Although those activities will continue occurring inside private lands we can reach agreements with landowners to protect certain areas, as well as manage others to mitigate the effects of productive activities in these private properties managing in this way the landscape and wildlife populations. Education and agreements with farm workers is also important and sometimes the impact of our effort are only visible after several years or decades.
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