Testing new low-tech ecological restoration techniques within tribal communities in New Caledonia

Nicolas Rinck
Published: 26 May 2023
Last edited: 26 May 2023
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Summary

The project aimed to transfer the seed bombing technique developed by XGraines to the tribal communities of Poyes, Tiwae, and Vieux Touho, adapting it to the ecological context, specific site challenges, and the available local resources and manpower. The project sought to establish a complete cycle of production, seeding, and monitoring of results by:

  1. Analyzing the ecological restoration challenges of the area.

  2. Identifying the degraded target areas.

  3. Identifying suitable plant species and their phenological schedule.

  4. Researching and utilizing raw materials directly sourced from the site (clay, soil, etc.)

  5. Purchasing equipment and making it available to the community.

  6. Training community members as experts in the technique in all its aspects.

  7. Establishing seedling sites.

  8. Implementing a monitoring system to track progress.

  9. Communicating and sharing results, inviting experts from other communities to learn about the initiative undertaken with the tribes of Poyes, Tiwae, and Vieux Touho.

Classifications

Region
Oceania
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Forest ecosystems
Tropical evergreen forest
Theme
Ecosystem services
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Restoration
Challenges
Land and Forest degradation
Ecosystem loss
Sustainable development goals
SDG 15 – Life on land
Aichi targets
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge

Location

Touho, North Province, New Caledonia

Challenges

In the municipality of Touho, like many rural sites in New Caledonia, dense humid forests are declining, and the fragmentation of these forest ecosystems is leading to a loss of heritage and degradation of ecosystem services, particularly in terms of water quality. Fire and invasive species (deer) are the primary factors contributing to the degradation of the environment. Due to the slow forest dynamics, communities have undertaken forest restoration, particularly around drinking water catchments, using planting techniques. However, the implementation of traditional planting methods consumes significant resources (time, and finances). Therefore, new technical and organizational approaches have been tested.

Beneficiaries

Communities of the tribes of Poyes, Tiwae et Vieux Touho

How do the building blocks interact?

The diagnostic phase/building block comes first; the empowerment phase/building block is implemented afterwards. 

Impacts

  • Local communities have been empowered to implement a nature-based solution for biodiversity restoration: seed bombing.
  • The relevance of seed bombing in the New Caledonian ecological and economic context has been demonstrated and its adoption has been encouraged.
  • The local communities have been provided with new knowledge about ecological restoration, including plant species and techniques.
  • A simple technique that can save time for individuals engaged in reforestation efforts and that requires less financial resources and time compared to traditional planting methods has been introduced.

Story

Nicolas Rinck

Aman is a resident of the Poyes tribe that participated in various stages of the project, benefiting from training in seed bomb production. During these exchanges, he contributed his knowledge of forest ecology to the project by citing tree species whose seeds he had seen germinate under particular natural conditions, thus providing indications of their potential use the seed bombing technique. During exchanges with the project's botanical expert, he also acquired new knowledge about certain species whose names and traditional uses had been lost in the area. Eventually, through this project, participants were able to mutually enrich their knowledge of forest ecology, the history of the landscape and natural ecosystems - from the time of their ancestors to recent changes - and deforestation, the effects of which are becoming increasingly visible.

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Nicolas Rinck XGRAINES