You know, the funny thing is that it's the exact same pattern we've seen here in Virginia—Almost all of our Commonwealth was farmland back at the beginning of the 20th century, but with the onset of urbanization over the past 100 years, most of it has reverted to being "old" forests.
CHILIBRE, Panama — The land where Marta Ortega de Wing raised hundreds of pigs until 10 years ago is being overtaken by galloping jungle — palms, lizards and ants.
Instead of farming, she now shops at the supermarket and her grown children and grandchildren live in places like Panama City and New York.
Here, and in other tropical countries around the world, small holdings like Ms. Ortega de Wing’s — and much larger swaths of farmland — are reverting to nature, as people abandon their land and move to the cities in search of better livings
“Biologists were ignoring these huge population trends and acting as if only original forest has conservation value, and that’s just wrong,” said Joe Wright, a senior scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute here, who set off a firestorm two years ago by suggesting that the new forests could substantially compensate for rain forest destruction.