Hall on what returns when a forest is burned
When a fire sweeps through a forest, or a lumber company strips an area of all of its trees, the greenery will eventually grow back. Or so many forestry researchers thought. But a new study in the tropics suggests that these second-growth forests can look very different from what they replaced—a finding that may cause biologists to wonder what biodiversity will be restored and forestry experts to reconsider how much they should or can intervene in the regrowth.
“There’s a high degree of random effects” in what comes back, says Jefferson Hall, a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama who was not involved with the work. “It’s a very important study.