Resource Details

Changes in vegetation structure and composition along a tropical forest chronosequence: implications for wildlife

Literature: Journal Articles

Dewalt, S. J., Maliakal, S. K., & Denslow, J. S. (2003). Changes in vegetation structure and composition along a tropical forest chronosequence: Implications for wildlife. Forest Ecology and Management, 182(1-3), 139-151.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Department of Biological Sciences, 107 Life Sciences Building, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
  • USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 23 E. Kawili St., Hilo, HI 96720, USA


Forest Ecology and Management

Selecting the link above redirects this page to the article on the journal website where the online material can be purchased or accessed if with subscription. For more information on access, see the Access section in the sidebar.


  • This study assesses the effects of forest regeneration and natural succession on wildlife species, and how secondary forest structure can influence the wildlife species composition of the once degraded land.
  • Land use history and the amount of time the land has been left to regenerate influences the type of habitat that regenerates and what kinds of forest resources are available for wildlife to survive on.
  • Habitat quality, resource abundance and availability, tree and liana density, and basic vegetation structure between secondary forests and old growth forests were found to differ in the types of species that can be supported. After about 70 years of passive forest regeneration, secondary forest structure resembled that of old growth forest. However, the composition of species took a lot longer to approach that of old growth forests. There seemed to be more resources for generalist species in secondary forests.
  • Secondary forests were able to support a great deal of generalist species and should be conserved in addition to old growth conservation because of the potential to regenerate.

Geographical Region

  • Southern Central America
  • Country

  • Panama
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    ELTI is a joint initiative of:
    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute