In 14 forest plots (36 m2) all terrestrial plant species were recorded before slashing and burning of the vegetation. During subsequent cultivation with rainfed rice all resprouting plants were registered in permanent plots (72 m2). The fields studied (one per forest) covered all combinations of forest type and soil usually cultivated on local farms. Forest plots (total 409 species) and field plots (358 species) had 226 species in common. Most resprouting plants were woody. Though nine forests in the sample were secondary, 70% of resprouting plants belonged to primary forest species and with three exceptions, these species did not regenerate by seed.
Experiments in one field inlcuded: different intensities of initial burning, weeding (none, once, twice) and length of the rice cultivation period (1, 2, 3 y). Resprouting plants were monitored in permanent plots (108 m2) during 3 y of cultivation and 2 y of fallow. More plants resprouted after a mild initial burning (5.8 plants m−2) than after a burn of normal intensity (1.4 plants m−2). Weeding and prolonged cultivation strongly reduced species diversity but plant densities were less affected because some climbers and trees were apparently stimulated and expanded.
Fields abandoned after one rice harvest had, within six months, a closed forest canopy of pioneer trees emerging from the pre-existing seed bank and from the growth of resprouting trees. Prolonged cultivation (3 y) destroyed the pre-existing seed bank but affected sprouting plants less, these being the only component in the vegetation able to shade out weeds and forbs such as Chromolaena odorata.