Ecosystem expert Dr. Mark Nelson has developed innovative ways to reuse wastewater and replant forests.
Why forest management?
We need new ways to keep forests strong and diverse, and Dr. Nelson is on the front lines of discovery. In Puerto Rico, he and his team have been using a technique called line planting - planting different tree species among the trees in an already growing forest. “Line planting within secondary forests such as those at Las Casas can increase the value of secondary forests, providing both sustainable timber production for profit and preservation of biodiversity and the other environmental advantages of maintenance of forests,” Dr. Nelson writes in a recent paper. “Enrichment and management of secondary forests should be explored as a promising approach to sustainable forestry.”
A great moment in the field:
As a member of the team that inhabited Biosphere 2 about two decades ago, Dr. Nelson developed a groundbreaking system for recycling water. His Wastewater Gardens technology provides a cheap, low-maintenance, environmentally friendly way to deal with sewage - it recycles water through a gravity-based system into elegant gardens that can produce flowers, fruits, and vegetables that can be eaten by humans and crops for animal consumption or fuel. The systems are carefully sealed so that no wastewater contaminates the soil, groundwater, rivers, lakes, or coastal waters.