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.
This graphic shows how four groups of forest attributes – soil, ecosystem functioning, forest structure and tree biodiversity – recover as tropical forests regrow on former farm and pasture lands. For each category, the image shows the average percentage of recovery compared with old-growth forests after 20, 40, 80 and 120 years. Percentages in black squares show average recovery for the whole forest at each interval. Pixels&Ink, CC BY-ND
Picture by L. Poorter
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