Biodiversity recovery of Neotropical secondary forests

Danaë M.A. Rozendaal*, Frans Bongers, T.M. 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.W. 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-Caros, 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.B. Williamson, Kátia J. Zanini, Jess Zimmerman, Lourens Poorter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

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
Article numbereaau3114
Number of pages10
JournalScience Advances
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Mar 2019

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