Principles of Natural Regeneration of Tropical Dry Forests for Restoration

Principles of Natural Regeneration of Tropical Dry Forests for Restoration


This review article describes the ecology of forest regeneration in tropical dry forests.

Conclusions & Takeaways

Instead of following a general formula for restoration in tropical forests overall, the authors recommend that tropical dry forests should be considered separately because of their different ecological factors. The authors describe the following ecological considerations which should be incorporated into restoration approaches: 1. the phenology or timing of seed dispersal is very predictable with wind-dispersed seed being released in the dry season and fleshy-fruit in the wet season. Seeds that fall during the dry season can be collected to re-dispersed until the next rainy season; 2. trees that have wind-dispersed seeds are much more common in dry forests than in moist tropical forests; 3. seed predation is similar to wet forests; when planting seeds, they should be buried to reduce predation. Or cuttings and planted seedlings can be used for highly susceptible species; 4. unlike many wet forests, dry forests can have water limitation; therefore, weeding around established seedlings and saplings can reduce competition; 5. fires can convert dry forests into savannas. Protection from fire can allow succession to continue; 6. many dry forest trees have the ability to regenerate after disturbance. The authors assert that the different characteristics of dry forests should be studied in greater detail in order to advice restoration to the unique environment.



Vieira DLM, Scariot A. Principles of Natural Regeneration of Tropical Dry Forests for Restoration. Restoration Ecology. 2006;14:11–20. doi:10.1111/j.1526-100x.2006.00100.x.


  • Pós-Graduação em Ecologia, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, Brazil.
  • Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação, Embrapa—Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia, Brasília, DF, Brazil.
  • United Nations Development Programme, Brasília, DF, Brazil.