The role of land-use history in driving successional pathways and its implications for the restoration of tropical forests
Across tropical landscapes, large portions of forest have been removed or degraded. Regenerating or secondary forests are becoming increasingly valuable to maintaining and restoring the biodiversity and ecosystem services in the tropics. However, it is apparent that succession does not always happen at the same rate or in the same patterns/quality. It is thought that the history of the land and its usage heavily impact the regeneration patterns of a forest landscape.
Goals and Methods
The authors conduct a literature review to synthesize the knowledge on how land-use history impacts forest succession. The authors aim to identify mechanisms that cause successional pathway divergence and, and how socioeconomic and biophysical factors combine to impact regrowth.
Conclusions and Takeaways
The main drivers of successional pathways in human-modified landscapes are socioeconomic and biophysical factors, as well as land-use history. These two primers interact to predict site availability for regeneration, species availability and performance, and community formation. Different types of land use history lead to distinct recovery rates and structure formation. Human disturbances such as pasture abandonment yield a much slower regeneration rate than clear-cutting a forest in the Amazonian rainforest. Agroforestry systems yield a faster recovery time and more predictable recovery quality. Overall, the authors conclude that natural succession will be more successful in speed and quality where there are fewer barriers to regeneration and the opportunity for enrichment planting is implemented.
The role of land‐use history in driving successional pathways and its implications for the restoration of tropical forests. Biological Reviews. 2021;96(4):1114 - 1134. doi:10.1111/brv.12694..