Tropical montane cloud forest is a priority ecosystem for restoration due to its high diversity and the provision of ecosystem services. We assessed the effectiveness of active (mixed plantation with native species) and passive (areas adjacent and non-adjacent to mature cloud forest) restoration strategies implemented in pastures with 21 years of exclosure, and compared these to a mature cloud forest, in Mexico. Active restoration proved more effective than passive restoration at recovering forest structure (higher basal area and tree height). Adult tree diversity was similar across all sites, while composition differed greatly between the mature forest and each of the restoration sites. The restoration sites presented very low tree seedling density (0.39 individuals/m2) relative to the mature forest (1.68 seedlings/m2), probably due to the higher cover of competing vegetation in the restoration sites. In all of the restoration sites, soil pH was higher, and carbon content in the soil and litter was lower, than in the mature forest. In general, the passive restoration site non-adjacent to the forest presented the lowest recovery, indicating the importance of proximity to seed sources. Our results highlight the need, in both actively and passively restored areas, for management practices, in order to assist tree seedling recruitment of key species and recovery of forest attributes. Active and passive restoration strategies could be implemented as complementary strategies for the restoration of cloud forest landscapes.
No datasets are available for this submission.