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Subsidient: Gianfranco Villamonte/Wageningen University
Subsidy: S19.3-67

Increasing deforestation in the Amazon makes restoration necessary for its survival. In this context, mining, which only accounts for 9% of Amazonian deforestation, is one of the most land-use intensive activities. This thesis focuses on closing the knowledge gap about the drivers of tree recruitment in mine land restoration sites. Fieldwork took place during the dry season of 2019 in a 27-year-old chrono-sequence of 86 plots in 6 mining sites undergoing restoration in the state of Rondônia, Brazil. Linear mixed effect models were performed in R to analyse the effects of management and ecological factors on recruit species richness, species composition and density. The results show that seed availability (from planted trees and surrounding forests) and soil properties (both natural and derived from management) influenced all recruitment variables. Light availability influenced recruit species richness and density, but it had no effect on species composition. This study evidences the complex processes involved in tree recruitment. It also highlights the importance of considering seed availability in forest management decisions and expands the understanding about the roles of light and soil in establishment. Finally, it informs forest management in order to increase recruit species richness and density and avoid arrested succession pathways.