Researchers at work: Fernando Bechara and Marcel Huijser address the participants of an excursion.
This was an excursion in association with the biennial conference of the Society for Ecological Restoration (SER). For this excursion we visited the abandoned dirt road Estrada do Colono (- Settler's Road-), Parque Nacional do Iguaçu, Brazil. This dirt road used to cut across the national park and threatened the ecological integrity and connectivity of the park. The road had illegal settlements and deforestation and poaching associated with it. The road was closed in 1986, but locals started using the road again illegally between 1997 and 2001. In 2001 the road was declared formally closed again, and the illegal settlers were removed. Since then the road has been abandoned. Grass-herb vegetation, shrubs and trees now grow on the old road bed. Note that the roadbed it self was not removed. The substrate is compacted, and the ditches are still present on either side. This leads to shallow root depth, a delayed and different path for the succession, unstable rooting for mature trees, and disturbed hydrology (sheet flow). However, roadbed removal, de-compaction of the soil, and removal of ditches at this time would probably cause more damage than it is worth.
Click here to view more images of Colono's road.
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