Over the last decade, some two hundred municipalities in the state of São Paulo increased the area of Atlantic Forest, and since most of them are adjacent areas they are starting to show up as authentic spots of recovering forests on the map of the State. The present article seeks to identify the major factors underpinning this unprecedented increase. The initial premise was that the recovery of the Atlantic Fo-rest was associated with the increasing number of ventures protecting natural heritage and promoting its economic exploitation. The study shows that compliance with the legislation, resulting from enhanced enforcement, along with a reduction in farming and livestock-breeding activities that allowed the natural growth of the vegetation, were the main drivers of the recovery of the Atlantic Forest over the last decade. However, as initially assumed, a rare combination of private enterprise and forest conservation can be witnessed in some areas of São Paulo State. This synergy has not arisen by chance; it mainly depends on the existence of institutional agreements among public and private players committed to the conservation of the natural heritage.