Resource Details

Restoration of Pasture to Forest in Brazil's Mata Atlântica: The Roles of Herbivory, Seedling Defenses, and Plot Design in Reforestation

Literature: Journal Articles

Massad, T. J., Chambers, J. Q., Rolim, S. G., Jesus, R. M. and Dyer, L. A. 2011, Restoration of Pasture to Forest in Brazil's Mata Atlântica: The Roles of Herbivory, Seedling Defenses, and Plot Design in Reforestation. Restoration Ecology, vol. 19, pp. 257–267

Contact Info

Corresponding Author: T. J. Massad,


  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Tulane University, 400 Boggs Building, New Orleans, LA 70118, U.S.A.
  • Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Hans-Kn¨oll-Str. 10, 07745 Jena, Germany
  • Reserva Natural Vale, PO Box 91, Linhares, 29900-970 ES, Brazil
  • Department of Biology, University of Nevada, 1664 N. Virginia St., Reno, NV 89557, U.S.A.


Restoration Ecology

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  • This article evaluates the effect of plantation design on vulnerability to seedling herbivory in the Mata Atlantica region of Brazil.
  • Over 10,000 seedlings from 126 species representing different functional groups (pioneer, early successional, late successional, climax) were planted in different combinations and densities.
  • High density was 1 seedling per 4 square meters and low density was 1 seedling per 9 square meters.
  • Of 3 of the 4 functional groups (not pioneer species), low diversity was 10 species, medium diversity was 20 species, high diversity included 40 species. Half of the plots included 2-4 pioneer species.
  • Herbivory (total percent leaf area missing), height, and wood density were evaluated for a sample of species within each treatment.
  • Additionally species with high and low herbivory were tested for saponin levels and leaf toughness.
  • Seedling growth was highest in the low density plots and the inclusion of pioneer species resulted in decreased growth of neighboring seedlings.
  • When herbivory was high, seedling growth was reduced. saponins and leaf toughness were shown to limit herbivory.
  • The authors recommend planting at high diversity with a mixture of fast-growing early successional species and later successional species which are specifically well defended against herbivores.

Geographical Region

  • Coastal Atlantic South America
  • Country

  • Brazil
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