• Acacia mangium;
  • Natural regeneration;
  • Reforestation;
  • Restoration ecology;
  • Forest management

Abstract. Reclamation of former, degraded forest lands occupied by Imperata cylindrica is one of the crucial environmental and forestry issues in the humid tropics, notably Southeast Asia. We suggest that it is possible to gradually restore the original natural forest cover with the help of a sacrifice fallow crop of fast-growing exotic tree species. Recently, a set of suitable fast-growing plantation tree species has been identified and stand establishment methods developed for this purpose. We assessed the regeneration of natural vegetation in stands of different plantation tree species and evaluated the ecological impact of species composition in the plantation understorey. PCA ordination, regression analysis and analysis of covariance were applied at different stages of the study. We found a marked vegetational resemblance between stands dominated by Acacia mangium: they had the highest number of indigenous trees in their understorey, whereas stands of other plantation trees supported more diverse grass and herb vegetation. A high proportion of evergreen woody vegetation reduces the risk of fire and grass competition and enhances secondary succession towards natural forest.