In 1993, researchers from the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Sciences at Cornell University began replanting a parcel of worn-out Costa Rican pasture land with seeds collected from native trees found in the community, often racing to gather the seeds before the monkeys got to them.
The result? Many people thought that they had done the impossible:
Ten years after the tree plantings, Cornell graduate student Jackeline Salazar counted the species of plants that took up residence in the shade of the new planted areas. She found remarkably high numbers of species -- more than 100 in each plot. And many of the new arrivals were also to be found in nearby remnants of the original forests. [...]
Fully rescuing a rain forest may take hundreds of years, but Leopold, whose findings are published with Salazar in the March 2008 issue of Ecological Restoration, said the study's results are promising. "I'm surprised," he said. "We're getting impressive growth rates in the new forest trees."