Resource Details

Restoration of Degraded Tropical Forest Landscapes

Literature: Journal Articles Available at NO COST

Lamb, D., Erskine, P.D., & Parrotta, J.A. 2005, "Restoration of Degraded Tropical Forest Landscapes", Science, vol. 310, no. 5754, pp. 1628-1632.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Rainforest Cooperative Research Center and School of Integrative Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia.
  • Research and Development, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 4th floor, RP-C, 1601 North Kent Street, Arlington, VA 22209, USA.


Claremont College

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  • The article provides an overview of potential approaches to tropical forest restoration at the landscape level.
  • Although natural regeneration has the potential to successfully restore forests in some cases, the species diversity is usually diminished with large-fruited plant species typically absent due to a lack of dispersal agents.
  • Natural regeneration also may not always be advantageous when the ecosystem is extremely degraded, perhaps due to a loss of topsoil and soil fertility or repeted disturbances.
  • Restoration plantings are often the best option for restoring original forest structure and composition, but it requires extensive ecological knowledge and may be limited by high costs. 
  • The authors suggest that restoration might best be targeted at heavily degraded lands, such as minded land or mangroves.
  • Plantations which seek to produce market products while also establishing ecosystem services might be improved by planting monocultures or mixtures of commercially viable native species.
  • With regard to mixed native-species plantations, there are often benefits over monocultures including increased production gains, reduced pest damage, and risk protection from uncertain markets.
  • One common difficulty with establishing successful mixed-species plantations is the identification of the most productive and stable combination of species.
  • Certain social barriers to reforestation are discussed such as insecure land and tree tenure, high upfront costs, and the tendency to use fast-growing exotic tree species.
  • The authors propose a number of methods for overcoming these barriers, including the improvement of land tenure procurement, enhancement of market conditions which favor reforestation, increased information and technical assistance to landowners, development of appropriate silviculture systems, and implementation of payments for environmental services.
  • The authors state that the biggest challenge for restoration will be to scale it up from a local activity to a landscape-scale activity. 

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