A middle ground between spontaneous natural regeneration and traditional tree-planting, assisted natural regeneration (ANR) is a set of ecosystem restoration techniques where local people – leaning on their knowledge of the land and on ancestral or local traditions – help trees and native vegetation naturally recover by eliminating threats to their growth and survival.

This study analyzes 24 case studies of ANR projects, 15 in Brazil and 9 elsewhere, to pinpoint the key factors that trigger success.

ANR usually has lower implementation costs than tree-planting campaigns and can be carried out at different scales, ranging from local projects led by small landowners to large-scale payment for environmental services programs.

ANR is a flexible restoration approach, easily adapted to different contexts and objectives. But the potential for natural regeneration varies in each landscape according to various environmental, social, and economic factors. Therefore, analyzing where ANR can work best is critical to its success. The research community must develop simple tools and approaches that help local planning organizations and agencies, along with communities, identify priority areas for ANR.