Restoring Tropical Forests

A Practical Guide

Stephen Elliott, David Blakesley, and Kate Hardwick

Restoring Tropical Forests

Stephen Elliott, David Blakesley, and Kate Hardwick

Distributed for Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

356 pages | 50 color plates, 200 line drawings, 6 maps | 7 1/2 x 10 | © 2013
Paper $50.00 ISBN: 9781842464427 Published April 2014 For sale in Canada, Mexico, and the USA only
E-book $52.00 ISBN: 9781842465820 Published February 2014
Tropical and subtropical forests cover a relatively small portion of the earth’s surface, but they’re home to over half of the animal and plant species on earth. Since these forests are rapidly disappearing, there is no room for error in restoration activities and decisions. Restoring Tropical Forests is a practical guide based on proven techniques that will enable readers to make the right decisions toward saving these valuable lands.

The book is based on the innovative techniques developed at Chiang Mai University’s Forest Restoration Research Unit, Thailand. It takes a threepart approach, first looking at effective general concepts of tropical forest dynamics and regeneration, then at specific proven restoration techniques, and finally at how to use research methods to refine and adapt the techniques to local ecological and socioeconomic conditions. In addition, illustrations and case studies of successful applications help to make this a global, user-friendly guide. Whether for developing new techniques or improving old ones, Restoring Tropical Forests is a valuable tool for effective, ecologically sound change.

Foreword by HRH Prince of Wales



1. Tropical deforestation: a threat to life on Earth

1.1 Rate and causes of tropical deforestation

1.2 Consequences of tropical deforestation

1.3 What is forest restoration?

1.4 The benefits of forest restoration

Case Study 1 – Cristalino

2. Understanding tropical forests

2.1 Tropical Forest types

2.2 Understanding forest regeneration

2.3 Climate change and restoration

3. Recognising the problem

3.1 Recognizing levels of degradation

3.2 Rapid site assessment

3.3 Interpreting data from a rapid site assessment

Case Study 2 – Littoral forest restoration in south-eastern Madagascar

4. Planning forest restoration

4.1 Who are the stakeholders?

4.2 Defining the objectives

4.3 Fitting forests into landscapes

4.4 Choosing sites for restoration

4.5 Drafting a project plan

4.6 Fundraising

5. Tools for restoring tropical forests

5.1 Protection

5.2 ‘Assisted’ or ‘accelerated’ natural regeneration (ANR)

5.3 The framework species method

5.4 Maximum diversity methods

5.5 Site amelioration and nurse plantations

5.6 Costs and benefits

Case Study 3 - Area de Conservation Guanacaste (ACG)

6. Grow your own trees

6.1 Building a nursery

6.2 Collecting and handling tree seeds

6.3 Germinating seeds

6.4 Potting

6.5 Caring for trees in the nursery

6.6 Research for improving native tree propagation

Case Study 4 – Doi Mae Solong: “Treasure Tree Clubs”

7. Tree planting, maintenance and monitoring

7.1 Preparing to plant

7.2 Planting

7.3 Caring for planted trees

7.4 Monitoring progress

7.5 Research for improving tree performance

7.6 Research on biodiversity recovery

Case Study 5 – Kaliro District

8. Setting up a forest restoration research unit (FORRU)

8.1 Organisation

8.2 Working at all levels

8.3 Funding

8.4 Information management

8.5 Selecting suitable tree species

8.6 Reaching out: education and extension services

Case Study 6 – Chiang Mai University’s Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU)


A1 – Templates for data collection sheets

A2 – Experimental design and statistical tests




Review Quotes
International Forestry Review
"We commend the authors for creating a practical guide for restoration practitioners with any level of experience. Restoring Tropical Forests presents step-by-step instructions to design and implement restoration projects, set up a regional nursery, and establish a forest research unit. The clear language, moderate price, and translation of the book into both French and Spanish mean that it will be accessible to a broad audience." 
Conservation Biology
"Athoroughandreadablehands-onguideforrestoringdegradedtropicalecosystems. . . . Restorationguidesdon’tgetmuchmorepracticalthanthisone."
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