This is an area of the ‘Attalea’ tropical dry forest in El Agrado which is part of a programme to recover 11,000 hectares of endangered Colombian dry forest. Worldwide, tropical dry forests receive far less attention – and protection – than rainforests, but they still contain a wide range of species, many of which are found nowhere else. Dry forest once covered around half of Grand-Terre, New Caledonia’s main island. But by the late 1990s, 98 percent of the original forest had been destroyed, leaving just a few thousand scattered hectares.
The fragments that remained faced a range of threats, including further conversion for agriculture, urbanization, fire and invasive species. WWF launched a programme to help restore New Caledonia’s dry forest, in collaboration with local government, the French government and local people.
The approach WWF promoted was “forest landscape restoration” (FLR) – rather than looking just to protect or replant individual sites, FLR works across whole deforested or degraded landscapes to restore the functions that forests provide. These include protecting water sources, stabilizing soils, pollinating crops and providing food and other materials, as well as providing habitat for biodiversity.
Photo: Leonardo Munoz