Tropical forest natural regeneration: predicting successes and accessing uncertainties

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Renato Crouzeilles

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Natural regeneration and the outcomes arising from it vary widely across multiple spatial and temporal scales and are affected by linked environmental and socioeconomic drivers. Investors operating in different businesses usually avoid high-risk transactions, which likely constrains the flow of financial resources to restoration initiatives that are perceived as uncertain and risky. Although predicting both the potential rate and location of natural regeneration through time and how its outcome varies within landscapes is inherently difficult, but such knowledge is critical to policy design and evaluation. Here we predict and map both the potential for natural forest regeneration over the next years and the landscape variation in biodiversity recovery at the global scale. We demonstrate substantial opportunity for cost-effective, large-scale natural and assisted regeneration in the humid tropical forests that could achieve numerous economic, social, and environmental benefits. By far the most important predictor of the occurrence of natural regeneration was the proximity to forest. On the other hand, not only environmental variables, but also socioeconomic variables were critical to predict landscape variation for vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. Therefore, our global maps are useful for guiding decision-making under several different circumstances, such as: i) prioritizing landscapes for restoration, ii) improving regulations on biodiversity offsetting, and iii) estimating implementation costs of forest restoration at the global scale. We capitalize on natural forest regeneration as an innovative perspective to guide global, national, and sub-national forest restoration policies and practices cost-effectively.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Society for Ecological Restoration