Special Issue: Managing forest regeneration and expansion at a time of unprecedented global change.
This special issue contains 6 papers with the aim of synthesizing and deepening the understanding of the ecology and functioning of forest recovery in different parts of the world. Three contributions provide empirical evidence on the effectiveness of low-cost and nature-based solutions to enhance forest regeneration and expansion, such as applied nucleation and induced seed dispersal. They highlight the instrumental role of seed dispersal interactions in enhancing tree establishment in neotropical ecosystems. A further study on a major European forest tree reveals that second-growth forests may rapidly attain high levels of functional diversity while exhibiting increased tree growth as a legacy effect of former land uses. Finally, a policy direction paper argues for the need to consider also a number of ecosystem disservices (such as fire hazards or biotic invasions) associated with the expansion of secondary forests while a commentary paper argues for reconsidering plans for large-scale massive tree planting. Overall, these contributions shed light on important knowledge gaps on the regeneration and restoration of tropical, Mediterranean and temperate forests, and provide evidence-based guidelines to design effective forest management plans.