Cases of assisted natural regeneration in Brazil: It is a matter of finding the limiting factors

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Daniel Luis Mascia Vieira

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One of the most exciting and accountable challenges restorationists face is choosing a restoration method for a degraded site. Research and practice are often focused on natural regeneration (passive restoration) and whole-site seeding or seedling planting (active restoration), however between those extremes there are infinite possibilities for triggering, conducing and accelerating natural regeneration, all called Assisting Natural Regeneration. Here I develop an acknowledged and intuitive framework for designing a restoration method: A method is a set of interventions that reduce restrictions and strengthens the potential of natural regeneration. Framework application: In the Amazon, harrowing and weeding shifted stable exotic pastures into a high-quality forest succession. In that case, pioneer seed rain was high, landscape forest cover was 37%, and the exotic grass stably dominated the sites. Preparing soil for pioneer seedling establishment triggered a fast canopy development and attracted late-successional species. In the Cerrado, sites degraded to bare soils, with dry climate and rare, but torrential, rains, were restored with water retention swales every 2m, following the topography. In the swales we seeded trees, but the ground was covered by native grasses that dispersed by runoffs from surroundings. These and other examples show that assisted natural regeneration may reduce the cost of restoration, where the mainstream option is whole-site planting; or enhance the ecological outcomes, where the mainstream option is passive restoration. Restorationists reach the decade of restoration with a good restoration toolbox, but with opportunities for developing nature-based methods for tropical ecosystems

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program