Biodiversity recovery of Neotropical secondary forests

Danaë M.A. Rozendaal, Frans Bongers, T. Mitchell Aide, Esteban Alvarez-Dávila, Nataly Ascarrunz, Patricia Balvanera, Justin M. Becknell, Tony V. Bentos, Pedro H.S. Brancalion, George A.L. Cabral, Sofia Calvo-Rodriguez, Jerome Chave, Ricardo G. César, Robin L. Chazdon, Richard Condit, Jorn S. Dallinga, Jarcilene S. De Almeida-Cortez, Ben De Jong, Alexandre De Oliveira, Julie S. DenslowDaisy H. Dent, Saara J. DeWalt, Juan Manuel Dupuy, Sandra M. Durán, Loïc P. Dutrieux, Mario M. Espírito-Santo, María C. Fandino, G. Wilson Fernandes, Bryan Finegan, Hernando García, Noel Gonzalez, Vanessa Granda Moser, Jefferson S. Hall, José Luis Hernández-Stefanoni, Stephen Hubbell, Catarina C. Jakovac, Alma Johanna Hernández, André B. Junqueira, Deborah Kennard, Denis Larpin, Susan G. Letcher, Juan Carlos Licona, Edwin Lebrija-Trejos, Erika Marín-Spiotta, Miguel Martínez-Ramos, Paulo E.S. Massoca, Jorge A. Meave, Rita C.G. Mesquita, Francisco Mora, Sandra C. Müller, Rodrigo Muñoz, Silvio Nolasco De Oliveira Neto, Natalia Norden, Yule R.F. Nunes, Susana Ochoa-Gaona, Edgar Ortiz-Malavassi, Rebecca Ostertag, Marielos Peña-Claros, Eduardo A. Pérez-García, Daniel Piotto, Jennifer S. Powers, José Aguilar-Cano, Susana Rodriguez-Buritica, Jorge Rodríguez-Velázquez, Marco Antonio Romero-Romero, Jorge Ruíz, Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, Arlete Silva De Almeida, Whendee L. Silver, Naomi B. Schwartz, William Wayt Thomas, Marisol Toledo, Maria Uriarte, Everardo Valadares De Sá Sampaio, Michiel Van Breugel, Hans Van Der Wal, Sebastião Venâncio Martins, Maria D.M. Veloso, Hans F.M. Vester, Alberto Vicentini, Ima C.G. Vieira, Pedro Villa, G. Bruce Williamson, Kátia J. Zanini, Jess Zimmerman, Lourens Poorter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

315 Scopus citations

Abstract

Old-growth tropical forests harbor an immense diversity of tree species but are rapidly being cleared, while secondary forests that regrow on abandoned agricultural lands increase in extent. We assess how tree species richness and composition recover during secondary succession across gradients in environmental conditions and anthropogenic disturbance in an unprecedented multisite analysis for the Neotropics. Secondary forests recover remarkably fast in species richness but slowly in species composition. Secondary forests take a median time of five decades to recover the species richness of old-growth forest (80% recovery after 20 years) based on rarefaction analysis. Full recovery of species composition takes centuries (only 34% recovery after 20 years). A dual strategy that maintains both old-growth forests and species-rich secondary forests is therefore crucial for biodiversity conservation in human-modified tropical landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaau3114
JournalScience Advances
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

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Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved.

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