We address the question: under which circumstances can we rely upon spontaneous succession and when are technical measures more effective in restoration programs? To answer this question, the position of a disturbed site along the productivity–stress gradient was considered. The probability of attaining a target stage by spontaneous succession decreases toward both ends of the productivity–stress gradient, whereas the acceptance of technical measures generally increases. In correspondence with that, the monetary cost of restoration increases toward the ends of the gradient. Therefore, spontaneous succession is advocated especially if environmental site conditions are not very extreme.