Tropical forest restoration has been largely promoted as a cost-effective solution to sequester carbon and mitigate climate change. Understanding the ecological processes driving biomass accumulation in forests undergoing restoration is critical to maximize the generation of carbon credits by restoration projects and their co-benefits for biodiversity. Here, we assessed the contributions of biotic seed dispersal to carbon sequestration across tropical forest landscapes in southeastern Brazil. We established 30 x 30 m inventory plots in areas undergoing restoration through mixed species plantations, natural regeneration, and agroforestry. We estimated the aboveground biomass (AGB) of each area and the proportion of it that was associated to tree species dispersed by biotic and abiotic seed dispersal, and how this proportion varied across major biophysical gradients. Biotic-dispersed trees constituted most of the AGB of forests undergoing restoration, which highlight the importance of reestablishing seed dispersal networks for effective and resilient recovery of carbon stocks through restoration.
forest restoration; Atlantic Forest, Cerrado, forest regeneration, restoration plantations