Secondary Forests Research Network
2ndFOR is a collaborative research network focusing on understanding the ecology, dynamics, and biodiversity of tropical secondary forests and the ecosystem services they provide in human-modified tropical landscapes.
2ndFOR publishes new study
2019. Nature Ecology and Evolution
During succession the vegetation gradually builds up, leading to changes in environmental conditions at the forest floor, and because species differ in their growing strategies this leads to shifts in species composition over time. Understanding how succession works is crucial to improve forest restoration initiatives and to select the best species for planting.
To evaluate successional changes in wood density, the 2ndFOR research team analysed forest recovery at an unprecedented spatial scale, using original data from 50 sites, 1,400 plots and >16,000 trees from tropical forests across Latin America.
Picture by R. Chazdon
are forests that regrow naturally after nearly complete removal of forest cover for anthropogenic use (usually for shifting cultivation, conventional cropping or cattle ranching). Currently over half of the world’s tropical forests are not old-growth, but naturally regenerating forests of which a large part is secondary forest. In tropical Latin America, secondary forests cover as much as 28% of the land area.
Picture by F. Bongers
Tropical forests are home to more than 53,000 tree species, accounting for 96% of global tree diversity. These hyperdiverse forests are threatened by high levels of deforestation, mostly driven by agricultural expansion. Once agricultural fields are abandoned, they can be rapidly colonized by naturally regrowing forests, which are called “secondary forests”. Could these regrowing forests help reverse species loss and bring native species back?
Read our brief on the study published on march 2019 in the journal Science Advances