Eco-Hustler

For The Wild: A Love Song to Disappearing Wild Places
Eco-Hustler / OCT 31, 2018

For The Wild’s 1 Million Redwood Project is dedicated to renewing and preserving the biodiversity and resiliency of Cascadia’s temperate rainforest through holistic research, biomimetic reforestation, land conservation, and living libraries of native seed and fungi.

Since the inception of our 1 Million Redwoods Project, we have continued to learn how severely and extensively industrial logging and rampant development have impacted forests of the redwood bioregion. Up to this point, reforestation of logged land has primarily focused on a small number of profitable species, which are planted with damaged roots, laden with chemicals, in compacted soil. These trees are significantly compromised in the absence of essential fungal allies, companion plants, and the guidance of grandmother trees. This legacy of industrial logging and unprecedented climatic shifts are begging us to ask the question: how can our reforestation efforts encourage biodiversity and climate resiliency?

Our vision for Biodiversity Enhancement Test Plots has emerged in response. Guided by the work of forest ecologists Peter Wohlleben and Suzanne Simard, forest geneticist Sally Aitken, and biomimicry pioneer Janine Benyus, these test plots aim to reforest biomimetically, through a succession of native seed and fungi bombs.

The initial phase will include a mixture of fungal and bacterial inoculants, for a thriving belowground ecology is foundational to any land renewal. The particular assemblage of species accounted for will be dependent on location and level of site degradation. Ecosystem engineering native shrubs, grasses, and early successional tree species will be followed by shade-requiring herbaceous plants and slower-growing trees.

As the climate continues to shift, ecological decouplings and maladaptations are predicted to increase. For this reason, For The Wild affirms that a fixation on restoring specific species or assemblages of the past is obsolete. Instead, we aim to preserve and encourage mutualistic relationships between species and bolster functional diversity. The test plots will be spaces to observe natural succession and evolutionary adaptation on renewing lands as climate change unfolds. Our findings on what thrives, what struggles, and where will better inform future reforestation initiatives. We are interested to explore how biodiversity spreads from the test plots to surrounding forest, and how soil health, insect-pollinators, and birds (etc.) will be supported.

These Biodiversity Enhancement Test Plots are a long-term commitment, grounded in the humility of humanity’s limitations and the philosophy of deep time and deep ecology. Their ultimate guiding principle is that biodiversity creates resiliency because there are more possibilities for natural evolutionary processes to occur…

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