Natural regeneration may help protect tropical forests

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Credit: Leonar Solis chajul

A new article summarizes the findings of 16 studies that illustrate how natural regeneration of forests, a low-cost alternative to tree planting, can contribute significantly to forest landscape restoration in tropical regions.

The studies reveal a number of ecological, environmental, and social factors that must be considered, and they outline a research agenda to support the use of natural regeneration in forest landscape restoration.

"Natural regeneration offers a low-cost alternative for forest landscape restoration with substantial benefits for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service provision, and human livelihoods," said Dr. María Uriarte, co-author of the Biotropica article. "Natural regeneration, however, is not a panacea to solve tensions and conflicts over land use management, but it can bring many advantages under some circumstances. Identifying under what conditions natural regeneration makes sense is a research priority to ensure sustained and long-lasting change in land use allocation."

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