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森林生态遭破坏后要如何起死回生?

更新时间:2019/3/30 10:57:42 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

How do you bring a forest back to life?
森林生态遭破坏后要如何起死回生?

Half a millennia ago, forests covered much of the Iberian peninsula. But that soon changed. Centuries of wars and invasions, agricultural expansion and woodcutting for charcoal and shipping wiped out most of the woods and transformed places like Matamorisca, a small village in northern Spain, into degraded landscapes.

500年前,森林覆盖了伊比利亚半岛(Iberian)的大部分区域。但情况很快发生了改变。几个世纪的战争和入侵、农业扩张、伐木烧炭及做造船材料已消灭了大部分的森林,而且也恶化了西班牙北部小镇马塔莫里斯卡(Matamorisca)等类似地区的生态环境。

The region’s arid climate and depleted soils would be a recipe for disaster in your average reforestation program, but for the Amsterdam-based Land Life Company it’s an ideal place. “We typically operate where nature does not come back by itself,” says Jurrian Ruys, its CEO. “We go where there are rougher conditions in terms of weather, with rough or very hot summers.”

对大多数的造林方案而言,该地区干旱的气候和贫瘠的土壤是一场灾难。但对于阿姆斯特丹的生态保护公司“大地生命”(Land Life)来说,这是一个理想的地方。该公司的首席执行官瑞伊(Jurrian Ruys)表示:“我们通常在大自然无法自行恢复的地方开展业务。我们去的是那些天气条件恶劣、夏天更炎热难熬的地区。”

In Matamorisca, they intervened in 17 barren hectares owned by the regional government and peppered them with their signature device: a biodegradable cardboard donut they call the cocoon which can hold 25 litres of water underground to aid a seedling’s first year. Around 16,000 oaks, ashes, walnuts, rowans, and whitebeams were planted in May 2018, and the company reports that 96% of them survived that year’s scorching summer without extra irrigation, a critical milestone for a young tree.

在马塔莫里斯卡,他们改造了当地政府所有的17公顷贫瘠的土地,并埋下了该公司的标志性设备:一个被他们称为“茧”,可起到生物分解作用的圆环状物体。这个埋在地下的圆环状物体储有供种子一年使用的25升水。2018年五月,该公司在这块土地种下了约1.6万株橡树、梣树、核桃树、花楸树和白面子树。该公司报告称,其中96%的树苗没有额外的灌溉,都在那个炎热的夏天存活了下来。这对树木幼苗而言是一个重要的里程碑。

“Does nature return by itself?” asks Arnout Asjes, Land Life Company’s chief technology officer, who oversees a mix of drone and satellite imagery, big data analysis, soil enhancement, QR tagging and site-specific tree configuration designs. “Probably, but it can take decades or hundreds of years, so we are speeding things up.”

大地生命公司的首席技术官阿斯杰(Arnout Asjes)主管无人机图像拍摄和卫星图像合成、大数据分析、土壤改善、二维码标记以及根据环境进行树种配置设计。他问:“大自然能否自行恢复呢?或许可以吧,但是需要几十或者几百年,因此我们的工作就是加速这个进程。”

His company belongs to a global movement of organisations trying to save degraded or deforested areas, ranging from exuberant tropical lowlands to arid hills in temperate regions. Spurred by global biodiversity loss and climate change, these groups are pushing the boundary of how to revive forest cover. “It’s not a theoretical proposition,” says Walter Vergara, a forest and climate specialist at the World Resources Institute (WRI). “It requires the right incentives, the right stakeholders, the right analysis and sufficient capital, but it can happen.”

阿斯杰的公司属於拯救土壤退化或森林被砍伐地区的全球性行动,参与机构所拯救对象涵盖很多不同地域,包括生机勃勃的热带低地以及温带的荒芜山区。全球生物多样性的减少以及气候的变化促使这些团体极尽所能地恢复森林覆盖。世界资源研究所(World Resources Institute)的森林和气候专家维加拉(Walter Vergara)表示:“这并不是仅止于理论的解决方案。尚需要合理的激励机制、合适的利益相关方加入、正确的分析以及足够的资金,才真的可能做成。”

How these factors coalesce around a particular project – and whether saving razed woods is even possible – depends on what kind of ecosystem you have in mind. Secondary forests in the Amazon are different from Texas pines recovering after wildfires or the boreal timber woods that cover much of Sweden. Each provide different reasons for reforestation programs and each has particular needs.

这些因素如何共同作用于一个项目,以及是否可能拯救被夷为平地的树林,主要取决于你想构建一个什么样的生态系统。亚马逊热带雨林里的次生林、从得克萨斯州山火恢复的松树林、覆盖瑞典大部分地区的北方针叶林彼此都是不相同的。每一个地区要进行森林恢复的原因都互不相同,都有各自的独特需求。

In the arid conditions around Matamorisca and similar areas in Spain, Land Life Company worries about rapid desertification. As its focus is on restoring an ecosystem, it works with organisations that don’t expect their money back.

土地生命公司担心马塔莫里斯卡周围的贫瘠地区以及西班牙境内的类似区域将迅速的沙漠化。鉴于公司的重点是恢复生态系统,其合作者都是那些不期待任何投资回报的机构。

With around 600 hectares replanted around the world since 2015 and another 1,100 planned for this year, the company’s drive fits into the Bonn Challenge, a global effort to restore 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land by 2020. That’s an area roughly the size of Iran or Mongolia. By 2030, the goal is to reach 350 million hectares – 20% more land than India.

该公司自2015年以来已经在全世界进行了600公顷的植被再种植,并且计划于今年内额外完成1100公顷。土地生命的工作与另一家关注全球生态的环保组织波恩挑战(Bonn Challenge)的目标一致。波恩挑战计划,到2020年恢复全球1.5亿公顷的退化土地和被砍伐的林地。这大概相当于伊朗或蒙古的国土面积。到2030年,目标是恢复3.5亿公顷的土地,这比印度的土地面积还要多20%。

These targets include both the rehabilitation of forested areas that have lost density or look a bit weak (a process known as ‘restoration’ in forestry lingo) and the recuperation of forest cover in areas where it was completely cleared (what’s known as ‘reforestation’).

这些目标其一是恢复因过度砍伐已失去森林覆盖密度或密度看起来比较稀疏的森林原貌,这一过程在林业术语里叫作“恢复林相”。其二是恢复已完全消失的林区,即“植树再造森林”。

That global target is broken into smaller pieces and takes shape in Latin America as the 20x20 Initiative, an effort to contribute 20 million hectares to the overall goal by catalysing small to medium projects with the political backing of governments.

这一全球目标被细分为更小的目标,并在拉丁美洲以“20x20倡议”(20x20 Initiative)的形式进行,即通过政府的支持推动中小型项目的发展,进而完成恢复2000万公顷土地的目标。

Unlike Land Life Company, this region-wide project makes the economic and business case for reforestation, even though they are after biodiversity conservation. “You need to bring private sector money,” says WRI’s Vergara, who leads the initiative, “and that capital needs to see a return on their investment.” A study he led predicts Latin America would see an estimated net present value of about $23bn (£17.3bn) over a 50-year period if it reaches its goal.

与土地生命公司不同,虽然其目标都是生物多样性保护,但这一区域性项目为重新造林找到了很好的经济和商业理由。牵头该倡议的世界资源研究所的维加拉表示:“你要让私营领域挣钱,需要让人看到这些资金投入会带来的回报。”他主导的一项研究预测,拉丁美洲如果达成目标,预计其50年后的净现值将达到230亿美元(合173亿英镑)。

Money can come from timber sales in sustainably managed forests or from harvesting ‘non-wood products’ like nuts, oils and fruits from the trees. You can take note of how much carbon dioxide your forest is capturing and sell carbon credits to companies keen to offset their emissions. Or you can even grow the forest hoping that biodiversity will attract ecotourists who’d pay for lodging, birdwatching tours and meals.

恢复森林的资金可以来自受管理监控的可持续发展森林的木材销售,或者来自坚果、油类以及水果等“非木质产品”。我们可以记录下森林所吸收的二氧化碳量,并将这些碳排放额度出售给那些希望抵消自己排放量的公司。或者你甚至可以继续种植这些森林,希望其生物多样性能够吸引生态游客,为住宿、观鸟旅游和餐饮付钱。

Still, these backers are not your high-street bank. Money for the 20x20 Initiative comes mostly from financial organisations with triple goals – a modest return on their investment, environmental benefits and social gains – known as impact investors.

上述支持者仍然不是恢复森林的主要收入来源。20x20倡议的资金主要来自追求三个目标(即投资收益只求适度、但希望能造福环境及回馈社会)的良心金融机构,也就是我们说的影响力投资者。

Take the German fund 12Tree for instance, one of the 20x20 partners. It put $9.5m (£7.1m) into Cuango, a 1,455-hectare property on the Caribbean coast of Panama that combines a commercial cocoa plantation with timber extraction from a sustainably managed secondary forest. With their money, they reforested a former cattle ranch, provided high-quality jobs for the surrounding communities and made a return on their investment.

以20x20的合作伙伴之一德国基金“12Tree”为例。该基金向巴拿马加勒比海岸1455公顷的宽果(Cuango)地区投资了950万美元(710万英镑)。该地区既有商业可可种植园,也有可持续管理的次生林木材开采。基金用这笔投资将一个曾经的养牛牧场恢复为林地,为周围社区提供了高质量的工作岗位,并获得了投资收益。

Even on land cleared decades ago and currently used by farmers, some crops can coexist with the forest, if you find the right balance. Although not technically reforestation, agroforestry provides an opportunity for small-holder farmers to sustain their livelihoods while adding some forest cover to their farms.

如果能够做好平衡,即便是在几十年前就被砍伐清空、现已是农民耕种的土地上,仍然可以让农作物也能和森林共存共荣。虽然在严格意义上这并不算是重新造林,但农林一体能让小规模的农民维持生计、同时也为农业用地增加了森林覆盖。

A global project called Breedcafs is studying how trees behave in coffee farms, hoping to find crop varieties that manage to grow under the canopy shade. Coffee grows naturally in such forests, so replicating that in farms is taking the crop back to its roots.

一个名为Breedcafs的全球项目正在研究树木在咖啡农场中的生长情况,希望发现能在树荫下生长的农作物种类。咖啡树天然就生长在这类森林中,因此在农场中复制这种模式是让农作物回本溯源。

“By reintroducing trees in the landscape, we impact positively humidity, rain capture, soil conservation and biodiversity preservation,” says coffee expert Benoît Bertrand, who leads the project from the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (Cirad). Bertrand is analysing which of dozens of coffee varieties fits better for this system. A similar approach can be applied to land with cocoa, vanilla and fruit trees.

咖啡专家贝特兰德(Benoît Bertrand)是法国农业国际合作研究发展中心(CIRAD)的项目负责人,他表示:“向土地重新引入树木,我们可以对湿度、水土保持以及维护物种多样性产生积极的影响。”贝特兰德正在分析哪些咖啡种类更适合这一体系。类似的方法可以用于可可、香草和果树的种植地。

Not every piece of land is amenable for reforestation. Vergara’s partners look for safe investments, and even Land Life Company only runs major projects in what they consider “low-risk” countries, like Spain, Mexico or the US. “We tend to avoid large-scale operations in countries in some parts of the Middle East or Africa where the permanence is not secured,” says Ruys.

并非每块土地都适合重新造林。维加拉的合作伙伴寻找的是安全投资,而且即便是土地生命公司也只在西班牙、墨西哥、美国等认为“低风险”的国家开展大型项目。瑞伊表示:“我们趋向于避免在中东或者非洲的某些国家进行大规模的运作,这些国家动荡不安,项目持久性不受保障。”

But in the right location, perhaps all you need is time. In the Central Pacific of Costa Rica, the 330-hectare National Wildlife Refuge Barú looks nothing like the cattle ranch it was before 1987, when Jack Ewing decided to turn this hacienda into an ecotourism destination. Instead of intervening, a friend told him to let nature have its way.

但在合适的地方,也许你需要的只是时间。在太平洋中部的哥斯达黎加,330公顷的巴鲁国家野生动植物保护区(National Wildlife Refuge Barú)在1987年前是牧场,但现在看起来已完全改观。当时尤因(Jack Ewing)决定将这个庄园变为一个生态旅游基地。一个朋友告诉他,与其干预,不如让大自然自行恢复。

Barú’s former grazing lands are now exuberant woods and the property boasts over 150 hectares of secondary forests with no intervention from humans. In the past 10 years, howling monkeys, scarlet macaws and even migratory cougars have returned to the refuge’s land, boosting tourism and reinvigorating the ecosystem. Ewing, now 75, explains this success using the words his friend chose three decades ago: “In Costa Rica, when you stop managing the scrubs, the jungle comes back for its vengeance.”

没有人类的干预,曾经是牧场的巴鲁保护区现在已是茂密的森林,有超过150公顷的次生林木。在过去的10年里,啼叫的猴子、猩红的金刚鹦鹉、甚至迁徙的美洲狮都已经回到了保护区的土地。这促进了旅游业的发展,也重振了生态系统。尤因现在75岁,引用他朋友的话如此描述这场胜利:“在哥斯达黎加,如果你停手让灌木丛自生自灭,丛林就会卷土重来报复你。"

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