What is the State of Tropical Montane Cloud Forest Restoration?

What is the State of Tropical Montane Cloud Forest Restoration?


This article reviews barriers and opportunities to recovery of deforested tropical montane cloud forest ecosystems. In recent years, agricultural and grazing lands in Latin America have been abandoned due to low productivity as well as rural to urban migration. However, land has not grown back with cloud forest species, but rather has remained dominated by non-forest vegetation (such as the grass Melinus minutiflora and fern Pteridium arachnoideum).

Conclusions & Takeaways

The authors discuss factors which control the rates of forest recovery and their management solutions, including soils, fire, seed dispersal, colonizing of pioneer species, and microhabitat conditions. Competition with grass and ferns was determined to be the major factor limiting the initial stages of forest recovery, while limited seed dispersal of mature forest species was a problem in later stages of recovery. The authors recommend that low-density grazing, manual removal, or planting fast-growing shade trees to reduce the competing vegetation and allow native plants to colonize. They also recommend the establishment of a nursery of mature forest species to plant on the site after the herbaceous cover has been controlled. They express that in some abandoned lands, natural regeneration will occur, but in others active restoration could help speed up the recovery process. Finally, they recommend that restoration projects incorporate actions to promote positive feedbacks by which some parts of the regeneration further advance others; for example, increases in forest cover and connectivity can lead to decreased fire frequency and increased seed dispersal, which further advances recovery.



Aide TM, Ruiz-Jaen MC, Grau HR, Bruijnzeel LA, Scatena FN, Hamilton LS. What is the state of tropical montane cloud forest restoration?. In: Tropical Montane Cloud Forests. Tropical Montane Cloud Forests. Cambridge University Press; Submitted:101–110. doi:10.1017/cbo9780511778384.010.


  • University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA
  • Universidad Nacional de Tucuman, Tucuman, Argentina