Much inspection efforts and funds have been expended with the aim of restoring riparian forests, in spite of the absence of clearly defined procedures to assess the reforested areas. In this study, canopy cover is analyzed as an indicator to be easily and precisely applied to evaluate the efficacy in forest restoration. Six reforested areas ranging from one to three years old, located at the Mid-Paranapanema Valey, São Paulo State, Brazil, were included in the structural analysis that supported this study. Crown cover estimated by line interception showed significant correlations with age (r = 8140); height (r = 8002); basal area (r = 7949) and diameter at breast height - DBH (r = 7234) and was considered a suitable indicator to assess the structural evolution of planted riparian forests at the ages comprised by this study (up to 36 months). The best equation for estimating crown cover rate by line interception (Y) as a function of age (X) was determined (Y = a + b / X). Better equations can be obtained if the whole range of ages and site variation are considered.
Indicators; restoration; riparian forests