Understanding restored forests for benefiting people and nature – “NewFor”


Restoration methods, policies, and supportive market and legal instruments have been developed to promote large-scale restoration in the Atlantic Forest region. To shift the scale of restoration from few thousands to millions of hectares a novel approach is needed. This project aims to explore the potential of restored forests for benefiting people and nature in the Atlantic Forest hotspot. We consider here all new forests, encompassing young restoration plantations, natural regeneration, and agroforests, but not commercial monoculture tree plantations. We evaluate how upscaling from plot-based inventories to large-scale planning and design is possible, taking into account ecological functions, forest services and human perceptions. By using a 5-objectives stepwise approach, we will 1) determine the attributes of new forests and their drivers of regeneration and deforestation across main ecoregions of São Paulo state, 2) assess the aboveground diversity and structure of new forests, 3) evaluate key forest functions based on functional traits, which allows to 4) predict new forests’ potential contributions to ecosystem services provisioning, through biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, watershed services, agricultural production, and forest goods supply; and 5) develop novel policies and market instruments to foster and stimulate new forests in the era of ambitious restoration commitments and societal demands for ecosystem services. We combine field based evaluations of new forest’s structure, diversity and functions with recent technological advances based on the use of high-resolution satellite images, powerful algorithms to explore land use dynamics, participatory science, drones with Lidar detection and ranging and hyperspectral sensors to study, map, project and manage new forests. In close collaboration with farmers, regional NGOs, companies, and government our research project will be able to translate fundamental knowledge on the structure, function and potential services of new forests to information needed by a large diversity of stakeholders, including farmers, companies and policy makers. This information will both support guidelines for effective and goal-oriented forest restoration, and provide alternative landscape developments, based on well understood synergies and trade-offs between the various landscape functions, and thereby promote a sustainable future of the Atlantic Forest region.





Prof. dr. F.J.J.M. Bongers

Verbonden aan

Wageningen University & Research, Omgevingswetenschappen, Bosecologie & Bosbeheer (FEM)


R.G. Brouwer MSc


01/05/2019 tot 01/05/2023