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Investigating the role of bird perches in reforestation

Bird perches
A Philippine green pigeon (Treron axillaris) is seen eating a fig, the seeds of which will be dispersed the next time the bird defecates. Researchers are looking at the potential role of artificial and natural bird perches in this dispersal process towards restoring degraded forests.(Photo credit: Jelaine Lim Gan)

Reforesting damaged forests is crucial for fighting climate change and protecting wildlife. One common way to do this is by planting trees, but this can be expensive and labor-intensive. A cheaper and more effective approach is Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR), which can involve the use of bird perches to attract fruit-eating birds that can help spread tree seeds and speed up the natural regeneration of the forest.

Researchers from the University of the Philippines – Diliman College of Science Institute of Biology (UPD-CS IB), the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, and the UK’s Newcastle University aim to embark on a systematic review and meta analysis of previous studies and observations to figure out how well artificial and natural perches work in increasing seed dispersal and seedling growth on degraded areas.

“The results will synthesize available evidence on the topic, identify knowledge gaps we need filling to upscale the strategy, and inform their use in concert with other ANR strategies,” the researchers said in their paper. “The search strategy was informed through a literature scan and discussions with stakeholders and experts,” they added.

The meta study aims to see if perches help bring in more seeds and seedlings in terms of numbers and types. The researchers hope to learn how to use perches better and combine them with other strategies to bring damaged forests back to life.

The results of the meta study are expected to be available in 2024.

References:

Gan, J. L., Grainger, M. J., Shirley, M. D. F., & Pfeifer, M. (03 August 2023). How effective are perches in promoting bird-mediated seed dispersal for natural forest regeneration? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence, 12(1), 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13750-023-00308-z

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