We present examples of large-scale farmer-managed natural regeneration of woody species in Africa to create new agroforestry systems. We also analyze two cases in Ethiopia of large-scale natural regeneration. The available evidence shows that the average costs per hectare of promoting on-farm natural regeneration are low as soon as farmers are familiar with this practice and begin to spontaneously adopt it. Based on these cases, current ambitious forest restoration targets can be achieved, but this goal requires a shift from tree planting to assisted natural regeneration. We propose a scaling-up strategy for natural regeneration based on experience gained mainly in the West African Sahel.