Forest recovery in abandoned pastures and agricultural fields is often impeded, therefore it is important to understand the factors limiting regeneration. Patterns of seed arrival and regeneration in five abandoned agricultural clearings nested within a seasonally dry tropical forest in India were examined along five transects radiating from the forest edge into the clearings. Wind-dispersed seeds dominated the seed arrival in clearings compared with vertebrate-dispersed seeds: 5563 wind-dispersed seeds and 1094 vertebrate-dispersed seeds of 14 and 13 tree species, respectively, were recorded. Numbers of the former declined steeply with increasing distance from the forest, whereas the latter showed no evident pattern with distance. Seeds of the invasive herb, Chromolaena odorata, were abundant in clearings. Although wind-dispersed seeds greatly outnumbered vertebrate-dispersed seeds, seedlings and saplings of vertebrate-dispersed species were three times more abundant than those of wind-dispersed species, indicating distinct differences in patterns of actual and effective seed dispersal. This points to recruitment limitation, and suggests that seed arrival may not be the principal barrier to regeneration in these clearings. Nonetheless, the clearings are likely to revert to forest over time.