Although deforestation is rampant across the tropics, forest has a strong capacity to regrow on abandoned lands. These “secondary” forests may increasingly play important roles in biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, and landscape restoration. Poorter et al. analyzed the patterns of recovery in forest attributes (related to soil, plant functioning, structure, and diversity) in 77 secondary forest sites in the Americas and West Africa. They found that different attributes recovered at different rates, with soil recovering in less than a decade and species diversity and biomass recovering in little more than a century. The authors discuss how these findings can be applied in efforts to promote forest restoration
Or, as The Guardian puts it:
Tropical forests can bounce back with surprising rapidity, a new study published today suggests.
An international group of researchers has found that tropical forests have the potential to almost fully regrow if they are left untouched by humans for about 20 years. This is due to a multidimensional mechanism whereby old forest flora and fauna help a new generation of forest grow – a natural process known as “secondary succession”.
The low point for American forests was the 1920s. Europe has been reforesting about as long too.
The lesson is clear and obvious – like the cutting. Get through the inflexion point of the Kuznets Curve and we’re done. The solution to that tropical forest problem is to make the people rich. All will stem naturally from that.
So, more neoliberal globalisation then.