Resource Details

Tropical forest recovery: Legacies of human impact and natural disturbances

Literature: Journal Articles

Chazdon, R.L. 2003, "Tropical forest recovery: Legacies of human impact and natural disturbances", Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, vol. 6, no. 1-2, pp. 51-71.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Dept. of Ecol./Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, United States


Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics

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  • Recovery of forest after disturbance can follow different trajectories based on the type of disturbance, the previous land-use, and the composition of the surrounding matrix.
  • In areas where there is severe soil compaction, soil erosion, fire damage, or grazing restoration may depend on human assistance. The author reviews different means of restoration.
  • If prior land use intensity was low in abandoned pastures, those areas can recover relatively quickly (50 years to have similar functioning to mature forest).
  • Naturally regenerating sites after human disturbances can be limited by insufficient seed dispersal, the establishment of dense thickets of ferns and other herbaceous competitors, and poor infiltration and greater runoff from compacted soils.
  • The establishment of tree plantations to increase site fertility, shade competing herbaceous plants, and attract seed-dispersing birds and bats.

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