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PRAXIS Experiment #3: Assisted Natural Regeneration (Latest update May 12th)

What is ANR?

According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, Assisted natural regeneration (ANR) is a simple, low-cost forest restoration method that can effectively convert deforested lands of degraded vegetation to more productive forests. The method aims to accelerate, rather than replace, natural successional processes by removing or reducing barriers to natural forest regeneration such as soil degradation, competition with weedy species, and recurring disturbances (e.g., fire, grazing, and wood harvesting). (see

What we're faced with:

Each of the "bushes" in the picture to the left is, in reality, regrowth of the original oak tree (Quercus coccifera). These trees were cut down about 10-12 years ago. I had no part in that decision - I would not have opted to fell these large trees. They create very different conditions to the ones present now. In other parts of the forest where they were not cut down, moss grows in very shaded underbrush. The original trees were planted in perfectly aligned rows. Each row was separated from the one below by approximately 20 feet (7 metres). This leaves enough space to plant a new row of low-laying trees or bushes. This is where I have elected to implement experiment #2 - fruit forest hedges. The question I will be attempting to answer here is: "can we usefully leverage the established root system of a 75-90-year-old tree to re-grow oak trees?"

I intend to use recommendations from Tony Rinaudo which were quite successful in several countries in Africa. Rinaudo’s farmer-managed natural regeneration method has restored 50,000 km2 of land with over 200 million trees in Niger alone. It has the potential to restore currently degraded drylands with an area the combined size of India

His recommendations:

1. Select

  • Survey land for sprouting stumps or seedlings and identify what species of trees are present.

  • Select the species and stumps to be regenerated.

2. Prune and manage

  • For each stump, select three to five stems to keep and prune away the unwanted stems.

  • For each remaining stem, prune off side branches up to halfway up the trunk

  • Protect the stems while they are growing.

3. Maintain

  • Prune unwanted emerging shoots every two to six months as needed.

  • Utilise tree for planned purposes; harvesting branches, portions of wood or the whole tree as necessary.

(c) Copyright T. Rinaudo "How to practise FMNR"

UPDATE from May 12th 2020

I have started to identify and apply the technique described by Tony above to several trees on the property. Quercus coccifera, the kermes oak was cut several years ago and started regrowing from the stump. The kermes Oak It is native to the Mediterranean region and Northern African Maghreb, south to north from Morocco to France. It is likely to start spreading north. According to wikipedia "the etymology of the specific name coccifera is related to the production of red cochineal (crimson) dye".

Photo of the stump(s) before the pruning (there were two kermes Oaks next to one another):

Picture of the same stump where the pruning has left only 4 main branches. Notice how I've left the other stump unchanged. This will allow a comparison of the unprocessed tree and the one where we applied the technique. Now, all we need is time to let the tree adapt to its new situation!



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