Login

GPC Members Login
If you have any problems or have forgotten your login please contact [email protected]


Previous findings on tropical forest restoration were biased

What we think we know about tropical forest restoration may be wrong, according to a recently released scientific paper.

Missouri Botanical Garden Scientist Leighton Reid was the lead author on the paper, "Positive site selection bias in meta-analyses comparing natural regeneration to active forest restoration," published in Science Advances.

"What we think we know about tropical forest restoration is based on shaky science," Reid said.

The paper reviewed major studies comparing two common approaches to tropical forest restoration - natural regeneration, or letting the forest grow back on its own, and active restoration, like tree planting. These studies found that natural regeneration was as good as, or better than, tree planting, but the paper found those studies were biased. The studies of natural regeneration had been done in more resilient areas that were more readily recovered without any help, while the tree planting studies were done in a broader range of site conditions.

"The problem is it was an apples to oranges comparison," Reid explained.

Tropical forest restoration is a topic of global importance because of the interrelated challenges of climate change, biodiversity loss, and desertification. Going forward, these findings could change the approach to restoration.

"It means we shouldn't take anything off the table," Reid said.

The paper concludes that it is often worthwhile to observe natural forest recovery for a year or two to assess if natural regeneration will be enough, and then deciding if another form of active intervention is needed.

Tree planting may be the best approach in some places, while natural restoration may be best in others. And sometimes they can be done in tandem.

"They're not mutually exclusive," Reid said.

Read the paper: Positive site selection bias in meta-analyses comparing natural regeneration to active forest restoration.

Article source: Missouri Botanical Garden.

Image credit: Missouri Botanical Garden

News

Large and branched root systems can speed up growth of spruces

According to a study by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), strong growth rate of spruces can be due to the structure of their root system. A large and branched root system offers a major benefit when competing for water and nutrients, and it can boost the growth of fast-growing spruces when compared to slow-growing ones already from the early stages.


Drying without dying: how resurrection plants survive without water

Aquaphotomics sheds light on how plants control their water structure to survive.


How the humble marigold outsmarts a devastating tomato pest

Scientists have revealed for the first time the natural weapon used by marigolds to protect tomato plants against destructive whiteflies.