Tropical forests are being deforested at an alarming rate to make way for agriculture and pastureland; the good news is that they can regrow naturally when the fields are abandoned.
Tropical forests are being deforested at an alarming rate to make way for agriculture and pastureland; the good news is that they can regrow naturally when the fields are abandoned. An international research team including participation from the University of Göttingen has found that regenerating wet and dry forests actually show opposite pathways. This implies a fundamental change in our understanding of how tropical forests change over time, with consequences for forest restoration, biodiversity, and ecology. Their results were published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.
Eighty-five researchers from 16 different countries collected original data from 50 sites, 1,400 plots and more than 16,000 trees in tropical forests across Latin America. The scientists tracked the recovery of tropical forests to understand how the regrowing process works.
They found that tree species that produce expensive and durable wood can persist for a very long time, especially under adverse climatic conditions but this strategy comes at the expense of a reduced and slow growth. Early in regeneration, light and water resources are in abundant supply, which leads to the dominance of “fast” pioneer species with soft wood.
Read more at University of Göttingen