With the decreasing affordability of protecting large blocks of pristine tropical forests, ecologists have staked their hopes on the management of human-modified landscapes (HMLs) to conserve tropical biodiversity. Here, we examine key forces affecting the dynamics of HMLs, and propose a framework connecting human disturbances, land use, and prospects for both tropical biodiversity and ecosystem services. We question the forest transition as a worldwide source of new secondary forest; the role played by regenerating (secondary) forest for biodiversity conservation, and the resilience of HMLs. We then offer a conceptual model describing potential successional trajectories among four major landscape types (natural, conservation, functional, and degraded) and highlight the potential implications of our model in terms of research agendas and conservation planning.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.