Assessing the viabiliy of the groasis waterboxx for dry forest restoration and reforestation projects.
Extensive deforestation of dry tropical forests is globally impeding the ecosystem services and functions that the forests provide, which millions of people depend on. On the island of Bonaire, in the Southern leeward section of the Caribbean, 83% of the islands financial value is based on nature tourism. The extensive damage to the dry forest has compromised many forests functions, causing a decline in the health of coral reefs surrounding the island due to increased sediment runoff. This poses a serious threat to the islands main economic sector. Current reforestation efforts have large time and resource requirements. This study experimentally assesses the viability of the novel Groasis Waterboxx as a reforestation technique, by determining the effect it has on seed germination and seedling survival of two native pioneer species, Prosopis juliflora (Mesquite) and Caesaria tremula (Palu Di Bonairu), and its cost-effectiveness. It was concluded that the Groasis Waterboxx was not a viable technique for seed germination due to the low total germination percentage (14.25%). Many reforestation projects currently propagate seeds in a nursery and transplant the seedlings to field sites where survival rates are low and resource demands are high. If Groasis Waterboxxes were used as the transplant vector, despite the low sample size, this study indicated that survival will be higher (100%). When considering the survival rates, resource and labour requirements, the Groasis Waterboxx is half the price of the only other feasible treatment (regular watering), and requires eleven times less water per plant. Research should be conducted with survival as the only dependant variable to further validate the results of this study. Some modifications to the Waterboxx are also needed to ensure its long-term feasibility.
Keywords: Dry forest, germination, survival, watering regimes, Groasis Waterboxx