Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 510256
Title Natural forest regeneration and ecological restoration in human-modified tropical landscapes
Author(s) Martínez-Ramos, Miguel; Pingarroni, Aline; Rodríguez-Velázquez, Jorge; Toledo-Chelala, Lilibeth; Zermeño-Hernández, Isela; Bongers, Frans
Source Biotropica 48 (2016)6. - ISSN 0006-3606 - p. 745 - 757.
Department(s) Forest Ecology and Forest Management
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016
Keyword(s) agricultural land uses - dispersal limitation - establishment limitation - Mexico - second growth forests - secondary succession - tree demography - tropical rain forest

In human-modified tropical landscapes (HMLs) the conservation of biodiversity, functions and services of forest ecosystems depends on persistence of old growth forest remnants, forest regeneration in abandoned agricultural fields, and restoration of degraded lands. Understanding the impacts of agricultural land uses (ALUs) on forest regeneration is critical for biodiversity conservation in HMLs. Here, we develop a conceptual framework that considers the availability of propagules and the environment prevailing after field abandonment as two major determinants of forest regeneration in HMLs. The framework proposes that regeneration potential decreases with size, duration and severity of agricultural disturbance, reducing propagule availability and creating ill-suited environmental conditions for regeneration. We used studies from Southern Mexico to assess this framework. First, we identify regeneration bottlenecks that trees face during transit from seed to follow-up life stages, using demographic analysis of dominant pioneer species in recently abandoned fields. Then, we explore effects of ALUs on forest regeneration at the field and landscape scales, addressing major legacies. Finally, we integrate agricultural disturbance with landscape composition to predict attributes of successful second growth forests in HMLs, and provide indicators useful to select tree native species for active restoration. An indicator of disturbance inflicted by ALUs, based on farmers’ information, predicted better regeneration potential than measurements of soil and microclimate conditions at time of abandonment. Cover of cattle pastures in the landscape was a stronger indicator of forest regenerating attributes than cover of old growth forest remnants. To conclude, we offer recommendations to promote forest regeneration and biodiversity conservation in HMLs.

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