Sitters, J., M. Holmgren, J.J. Stoorvogel and B.C. Lopez
Regeneration of original dry forests and shrublands in degraded arid and semiarid ecosystems can be a slow and difficult process. It has been hypothesized that restoration efforts during periods of increased water availability may potentially trigger shifts back to a high vegetation cover depending on several environmental factors that govern the response of vegetation to rainfall. Tuning restoration efforts to climate variability will likely become increasingly important under climate change conditions. The experiences evaluated here are a pioneering effort to reforest arid South American forests. Our study shows that management tuned to forecasted rainfall events is able to trigger a long-lasting shift toward higher vegetation cover. We provide a better insight in how environmental factors shape vegetation response to increased rainfall and discuss the implications for ecosystem resilience and restoration.