Birdwatching and recording a bird inventory is a great way to monitor and indicate the health of a forest. When the OIG property was purchased in 2011, it was an abandoned cacao plantation infected with an aggressive fungus that was thriving in the dark, moist conditions of the closed chocolate canopy. Very little sunlight penetrated to the forest floor, inhibiting the re-establishment of the jungle on the mosquito infested mismanaged land. OIG’s first big project was to remediate the property and establish a healthy ecosystem by removing the cacao and replanting with a diversity of plants. At the start, OIG began to inventory the bird species as an indicator of reforestation efforts and complexity of the system as the land healed and reverted back to jungle. The number of birds that visit the property daily and bird biodiversity has skyrocketed over the past few years since OIG became stewards of the land, providing empirical evidence of improved forest health. Birdwatching is a fun recreational activity that can also contribute to research in conservation land management.
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