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During the last three decades the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (BAF) has shifted from a deforestation-dominated scenario to a net forest gain after 2002. However local studies show there are concomitant deforestation and forest recovery heterogeneously distributed along the BAF. It is essential to understand the consequences of large-scale forest recovery in a context of intense forest cover (FC) dynamics. We divided the entire BAF into equal-sized landscapes in order to analyze the changes in FC, landscape connectivity, and consequently, in habitat availability along the biome. The Brazilian Atlantic Forest (BAF) lost 1.8 million hectares of forest from 1985 until 2002 but recovered 0.18 million ha. This result is a combination of high rates of forest restoration and deforestation (~350 Kha of both deforestation and restoration per year) heterogeneously distributed along the BAF. The forest recovery avoided the reduction of FC in 36% of the BAF and allowed a net improvement in FC in 97% of the landscapes. In 30% of the BAF the forest recovery increased both FC and landscape connectivity. However, in 65% of the landscapes the forest recovery occurred in isolated areas and did not improve landscape connectivity, whereas 3% of the landscapes suffered both forest loss and reduction of landscape connectivity. The lack of spatial planning for large scale restoration associated to concomitant deforestation reduced the benefits of forest recovery to landscape structure. Thus, large scale restoration efforts must be spatially planned to improve landscape configuration and promote biodiversity conservation in restored areas.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Society for Ecological Restoration