Succession in the Brazilian Amazon depends on prior land-use history. Abandoned clearcuts become dominated by Cecropia trees and exhibit species replacements characteristic of natural succession in forest lightgaps. In contrast, abandoned pastures are dominated by Vismia trees that inhibit natural succession for a decade or more. Here we explore how advance regeneration and limited seed dispersal may contribute to the arrested succession in Vismia-dominated stands. Vegetation surveys showed that every Vismia stem in 3-8 year old Vismia stands originated as a re- sprout. In Cecropia stands, all tree species, including Vismia, originated mostly from seeds, after deforestation and abandonment. The 100% re-sprouts of Vismia in the abandoned pastures confirms that Vismia dominance results from re-sprouting following pasture fires. Seed rain in both Vismia and Cecropia dominated stands was limited almost exclusively to second growth species already reproducing in those stands, suggesting that the bats and birds foraging there were not bringing mature forest seeds into the second growth, but simply feeding and depositing local second growth species. As dispersal was similar in both stand types, dispersal differences cannot account for the ongoing dominance of Vismia relative to the ongoing successional transitions in Cecropia stands. Overall, advance regeneration in the form of Vismia re-sprouts is much more likely to be the driver of Vismia dominated succession than differential dispersal of mature forest seeds. In order to avoid extensive forest conversion into unproductive Vismia wastelands in the Amazon Basin, forestry permits for harvesting timber should include restrictions on subsequent anthropogenic degradation, such as conversion to pasture and prescribed burning.