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What Role Should Government Regulation Play in Ecological Restoration? Ongoing Debate in São Paulo State, Brazil

Authors

  • James Aronson,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (CNRS-UMR 5175), 1919, Route de Mende, 34293 Montpellier, France
    2. Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO 63110, U.S.A.
      J. Aronson, email james.aronson@cefe.cnrs.fr
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    • The first three authors are listed in alphabetical order; they contributed equally to this paper.

  • Pedro H. S. Brancalion,

    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of São Paulo, ESALQ, Av. Pádua Dias 11, 13.418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
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    • The first three authors are listed in alphabetical order; they contributed equally to this paper.

  • Giselda Durigan,

    1. Forestry Institute of the State of São Paulo, Assis State Forest, PO Box 104, 19802-970, Assis, SP, Brazil
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    • The first three authors are listed in alphabetical order; they contributed equally to this paper.

  • Ricardo R. Rodrigues,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of São Paulo, ESALQ, Av. Pádua Dias 11, 13.418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
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  • Vera L. Engel,

    1. Faculty of Agronomic Sciences, Department of Natural Resources, São Paulo State University—UNESP, PO Box 237, 18603-970 Botucatu, SP, Brazil
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  • Marcelo Tabarelli,

    1. Department of Botany, Federal University of Pernambuco, Av. Moraes Rego s/n, Cidade Universitária, 50670-901 Recife, PE, Brazil
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  • José M. D. Torezan,

    1. Centre of Biological Sciences, State University of Londrina, PO Box 6001, 86.051-990 Londrina, PR, Brazil
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  • Sergius Gandolfi,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of São Paulo, ESALQ, Av. Pádua Dias 11, 13.418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
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  • Antônio C. G. de Melo,

    1. Forestry Institute of the State of São Paulo, Assis State Forest, PO Box 104, 19802-970, Assis, SP, Brazil
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  • Paulo Y. Kageyama,

    1. Department of Forest Sciences, University of São Paulo, ESALQ, Av. Pádua Dias 11, 13.418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
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  • Márcia C. M. Marques,

    1. Laboratório de Ecologia Vegetal, Universidade Federal do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
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  • André G. Nave,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of São Paulo, ESALQ, Av. Pádua Dias 11, 13.418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
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  • Sebastião V. Martins,

    1. Department of Forestry Engineering, Federal University of Viçosa, PO Box 218, 36570-000 Viçosa, MG, Brazil
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  • Flávio B. Gandara,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, University of São Paulo, ESALQ, Av. Pádua Dias 11, 13.418-900, Piracicaba, SP, Brazil
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  • Ademir Reis,

    1. Department of Botany, Federal University of Santa Catarina, 88040-900, Trinidade, Florianópolis, SC, Brazil
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  • Luiz M. Barbosa,

    1. Institute of Botany—State of São Paulo, Av. Miguel Stéfano, 3687, 04301-902 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
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  • Fabio R. Scarano

    1. Conservation International, Rua Buenos Aires 68, 26 andar, cep 20070-022, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
    2. Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, CCS, IB, Depto de Ecologia, Cx Postal 68020, cep 21041-970, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
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J. Aronson, email james.aronson@cefe.cnrs.fr

Abstract

Around the world, there is growing desire and momentum for ecological restoration to happen faster, with better quality, and in more extensive areas. The question we ask is how can laws and governmental regulations best contribute to effective, successful, and broad-scale restoration? In the state of São Paulo, Brazil, there is a legal instrument (SMA 08-2008) whose aim is to increase the effectiveness of tropical forest restoration projects in particular. It establishes, among other things, requirements regarding the minimum number of native tree species to be reached within a given period of time in restoration projects and the precise proportion of functional groups or threatened species to be included when reforestation with native species is used as a restoration technique. There are, however, two differing perspectives among Brazilian restoration ecologists on the appropriateness of such detailed legal rules. For some, the rules help increase the chances that mandatory projects of ecological restoration will succeed. For the other group, there is no single way to achieve effective ecosystem restoration, and the existing science and know-how are far from sufficient to establish standardized technical and methodological norms or to justify that such norms be imposed. Both points of view are discussed here, aiming to help those developing new legislation and improving existing laws about ecological restoration. The precedents established in São Paulo, and at the federal level in Brazil, and the ongoing debate about those laws are worth considering and possibly applying elsewhere.

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