Individual study: Restoration of a degraded dry forest using nurse trees at Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Medawatte W.W.M.B.A., Amarasinghe J., Iqbal M.C.M. & Ranwala S.M.W. (2014) Restoration of a degraded dry forest using nurse trees at Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Conservation Evidence, 11, 16-19
We determined the effect of over-storey nurse tree cultivation on species composition in a naturally regenerated dry forest in a dry zone arboretum in Sri Lanka. The forest had previously been abandoned shifting cultivated land. One area was restored using nurse trees, one area was restored without nurse trees, and one area was left unmanaged as a control. Species dominance, richness and diversity of regenerated trees were assessed within random plots in the three treatment types. Regenerated tree species richness and diversity were greater in the restored land with nurse trees than in the restored land without nurse trees or in the control area. Dry forest tree species were dominant in the plots with nurse trees, while light-demanding and competitive pioneer scrubland species were dominant in the plots without nurse trees and the control area. We suggest that monospecific tree plantations that have been established for reforestation or agroforestry purposes could be used as nurse trees for dry forest restoration.