Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Assessing drivers of forest regrowth in South America

Various factors affect the forest regrowth rate after disturbances. Understanding what influences forest regrowth rate after disturbances are of great importance for the sustainable management of forest resources and providing baseline information for understanding forest dynamics.

Only a few researchers have attempted to unravel the factors that influence forest regrowth. Yang et al. (2006) analyzed the relationship between factors (temperature and precipitation, aspect, soil thickness, forest cover and forest age) and forest growth in Taihang Mountains. Toledo et al. (2011) have examined the effects of climate (include water availability), soil and logging disturbances on forest regrowth and they observed that forest growth rate variation in Bolivian lowland forests is strongly affected by climate variables and disturbance types. A model that integrates multiple factors (climate, terrain, soil, disturbances and land use) simultaneously and identifying the most important factor for tropical forests regrowth rate at large scale (continental scale) has not been developed yet.


  • To determine the main factors that affect the forest regrowth rate in South America


  • Toledo, M., Poorter L., Peña-Claros, M., Alarcón, A., Balcázar, J., Leaño, C., Licona, J. C. et al. (2011). Climate Is a Stronger Driver of Tree and Forest Growth Rates than Soil and Disturbance. Journal of Ecology ,99(1): 254–264.
  • Yang, Y.,  Watanabe, M.,  Li, F., Zhang, J., Zhang, W., & Zhai, J. (2006). Factors Affecting Forest Growth and Possible Effects of Climate Change in the Taihang Mountains, Northern China. Forestry, 79(1): 135–147.


  • Geo-scripting course
  • Advanced modelling/programming skills (e.g. R, Python, GEE) or strong motivation to learn it.

Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation; Integrated Land Monitoring