Recovering from natural disasters usually means rebuilding infrastructure and reassembling human lives. Yet ecologically sensitive areas need to heal, too, and scientists are pioneering new methods to assess nature’s recovery and guide human intervention. A new study focused on the epicenter of China’s devastating Wenchuan earthquake in 2008, a globally important valuable biodiversity hotspot and home to the beloved and endangered giant pandas. Not only did the quake devastate villages and roads, but the earth split open and swallowed sections of the forests and bamboo groves that shelter and feed pandas and other endangered wildlife. The study indicated that forest restoration after natural disasters should not only consider the forest itself, but also take into account the animals inhabiting the ecosystem and human livelihoods.
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