In highly deforested agricultural landscapes, second-growth forests are important biodiversity refuges for native species. Similarly, tree plantations may house many native species and provide important environmental services, while providing resources for landowners. Using historical maps to identify second-growth forests with ages from 7-53 years in agricultural landscapes of the Atlantic Forest in southeast Brazil, we aim to analyze the complementary role of second-growth forests established in abandoned pastures and in abandoned Eucalyptus spp. plantations for carbon storage and the conservation of native species. This information will be compared to old-growth reference forests in the region. We will also identify the unique spatial patters and the main drivers of forest regeneration of both types of second-growth forests in agricultural landscapes. We expect to find that i) both forests play complementary roles in biodiversity conservation at the landscape scale by providing habitat for species with different niche requirements, ii) remnant Eucalyptus spp. increase biomass stocks in young second-growth forests but may suppress native species in later successional stages, iii) the conditions that lead to the abandonment of pastures and Eucalyptus spp. plantations, thus allowing natural regeneration, differ. Information about the complementary traits of second-growth forests and which factors allow for natural regeneration in agricultural landscapes is key to increase the cost-efficiency of landscape restoration actions and achieve large scale in ecological restoration.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: