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Cloud Forest Restoration Event on Santa Rosa Island

This past week, MRT vegetation crew members, MRT executive director, and volunteers provided a few more hands to assist Research Ecologist Dr. Kathryn McEachern of the US Geological Survey on a restoration project on Santa Rosa Island. The restoration site, often referred to as as the Cloud Forest, is home to specialized species of trees and chaparral shrubs that collect fog on their surfaces in order to provide water for the whole island ecosystem. Sadly, this beautiful forest has been in critical condition from a long history of overgrazing and erosion that began in the mid-1800s. Since the introduction of non-native species around that time, like sheep and cattle, close to 75% of the island’s native vegetation has disappeared. This particular area suffered from intense erosion which has left the roots of many of the native fog collecting trees exposed. With all of the vegetation in such a vulnerable state, the complex system that supports the Cloud Forest has fallen apart. In order to correct this, Dr. McEachern, has been working to initiate ecosystem recovery by setting up natural fiber wattles to control erosion, as well as collecting and growing native plants around the forest. The MRT team is assisting with these efforts by planting native trees and setting up fog fences to aid with the natural water collection. Here are some of the photos from last week’s restoration event 🙂

  

    

 

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