Restoration of Forest Ecosystems in Fragmented Landscapes of Temperate and Montane Tropical Latin America

Temperate and tropical montane forests in Latin America represent a major natural resource at both regional and national levels for a number of reasons - biological, climatic, economic, cultural. Native tree species in these forests share conservation problems because of deforestation, habitat degradation, overall biodiversity loss and integrity of landscape structure. However, literature on forest restoration research and practices in these ecosystems is scanty and dispersed. We integrate forest restoration experiences aimed at a variety of purposes that allow us to gain insight over several years under contrasting ecological, social and economic conditions in six study regions: the Argentinian Andes, the IX and X Regions in Chile (including northern Chiloe Island), and central Veracruz and the central and northern Highlands of Chiapas (Mexico). By comparing analogous conditions and highlighting differences among the study sites, current pitfalls can be identified and used to define a minimum set of elements to be considered in a protocol for restoration practices. The restoration studies reviewed here include a wide variety of ecological and socio-economic circumstances that allow the identification of broad guidelines, criteria and indicators for planning, implementing and monitoring ecological restoration programmes. We conclude with statements that suggest approaches, strategies and concrete actions that might be considered as lessons learned and inputs for best practice in forest restoration research and programmes conducted in other developing regions.

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