Tropical rainforests can regrow in just 20 years without human intervention, new study finds

Tropical rainforests can regrow in just 20 years without human intervention, new study finds

By Lucy Jones  December 14th, 2021

The research suggests a more hands-off approach to conservation could help forests bounce back from land clearing for agriculture and natural disasters.


A new study has found that tropical forests could regenerate quickly with little or no human intervention.

Published in the journal Science, the research comes from a team of ecologists dedicated to the study of secondary forests — areas that regrow naturally after land clearing or grazing.

The study shows abandoned forests can regrow their old-growth features, including soil health, tree attributes and ecosystem functions, in as little as 10 to 20 years. Some forests studied recovered 100 per cent of old-growth attributes within the first 20 years of regrowth.

The findings make the case for site-specific, locally tailored regeneration that relies on natural regrowth wherever possible.

"Our findings show that tropical forest regrowth is an effective and low-cost, nature-based strategy for promoting sustainable development, restoring ecosystems, slowing climate change and protecting biodiversity," the researchers wrote in an article for The Conversation.

Head here to read the study in full.

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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Lucy Jones

Lucy started her career working as a writer and editor in print and digital publishing. She went on to create content for Australia's leading sustainable fashion platform while completing her Master of Cultural Studies. Lucy spends her downtime at the beach, crocheting and hanging out with her cat Larry. She believes words can change the world and is stoked to help Planet Ark spread the message of positive environmental change.

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