Helping Forests to Help Themselves—Accelerating Natural Regeneration

Helping Forests to Help Themselves—Accelerating Natural Regeneration


This chapter walks through the basic techniques of accelerated (or assisted) natural regeneration (ANR), describing when it is appropriate, when it should be combined with other techniques, how to increase the seed rain, and areas of needed research.

 Conclusions & Takeaways

In order for ANR to be successful, managers must control stem density of native saplings and seedlings, and live stumps, nearby seed trees, seed-dispersing animals, fire, and grazing should be present.  In cases where stem density and tree species diversity are low, ANR may be combined with planting. Techniques include lodging (flattening) of grasses to prevent trees from being outcompeted, hand-pulling of weeds, mulching and fertilization of young trees, providing bird perches and bat boxes to increase seed rain, and direct seeding of certain species. The authors recommend further research examining the potential for encouragement of stump regeneration, such as through use of hormones, mulches, or thinning of shoots; the effect of mycorrhizae on tree performance; and the effectiveness of using bat boxes for improved forest regeneration.



Elliott, S., Blakesley, D., Maxwell, J.F. et al. 2006, “Helping forests to help themselves—accelerating natural regeneration” in How to Plant a Forest: The Principles and Practice of Restoring Tropical Forests, The Forest Restoration Research Unit, Chiang Mai University, Thailand.


  • The Forest Restoration Research Unitm Suwannaratana Biology Department Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai, University Chiang Mai Thailand