We share the conviction that secondary forests are crucial for sustaining nature and human well-being on our planet.
Aims. To understand and predict the resilience of tropical forests to human-driven disturbance.
When, where and what? When, and under what conditions, are regrowing forests able to recover and have a similar quality as old-growth forests?
PANTROPICAL analysis of long-term recovery. Under the PANTROP project, we are expanding the 2ndFOR network to Africa, Asia and Oceania, to evaluate the role of biogeography, land use and landscape context and socio-economic drivers on regrowth. We have now gone from 50 sites in Latin America to 78 sites, including 9 in West Africa, and a new PANTROP-funded chronosequence in Ghana. The expansion continues ….
What about the surrounding landscape? Neighbouring forests may speed up recovery, by providing seeds or dispersal agents, such as monkeys and birds. We evaluate the role of the surrounding landscape on forest recovery, by establishing plots om abandoned agricultural fields along a forest cover gradient, and by monitoring the regrowing vegetation.
Does biodiversity matter? A handful of pioneer species may dominate the regrowing vegetation and drive ecosystem functioning, whereas a large blend of rarer species may increase forest resilience to environmental change. We evaluate how different kinds of diversity affect succession and ecosystem functioning by doing a biodiversity experiment.