Most tree species in the caatinga of northeastern Brazil coppice readily after clearing. Five stand ages, ranging from 1 to 40 years post-clearing, were compared to determine biomass production and details of recovery in regenerating caatinga woodland. Complete removal of the tree canopy resulted in a seven-fold increase in first year production of herbaceous vegetation. By the second year, woody plant leaf biomass was comparable to that of the 40-year-old stand. The rapid initial growth of copipicing trees is associated with current annual increment of woody biomass apparently culminating by the fourth year after clearing. By the fifth year after clearing total aboveground biomass was greater than 50% of that estimated for the 40-year-old caatinga. Caatinga recovery appears to involve a trend in species importance in the understory from annuals to perennials and in the overstory from trees of coppice origin to those originating from seed. © 1992.
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