The Agua Salud Project, Central Panama

The Agua Salud Project, Central Panama


The Agua Salud Project is located in the watershed that includes and surrounds the Panama Canal, an engineering feat that largely relies on natural hydrological systems. Much of this watershed has been deforested, thus an official policy has been put into place to reforest and regain ecosystem services. This project seeks to utilize the globalize role of the canal to bring attention to the ecosystem services of the region. 

Goals & Approach

The project aims to answer three essential questions: how does land management affect ecosystem services? can land management optimize forest dynamics and ecosystem service? do tree planting treatments affect groundwater storage? The project has set up long-term hydrology experiments in various catchment areas within the canal region to answer these questions.

Reported Takeaways

By 2008, 70 ha were planted with native tree species, intended to reduce soil erosion, restore hydrological function, increase soil fertility, and increase biodiversity while also producing high-value timber trees. Several hydrology studies have also been completed. In the future, the project anticipates to expand and address biodiversity, social, and economic values of forests.



Stallard, R. F., H. Elsenbeer, F. L. Ogden, and J. S. Hall. 2007. "The Agua Salud Project, Central Panama." In AGU Fall Meeting Abstracts.


  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • the Panama Canal Authority
  • Panama’s National Environmental Authority
  • HSBC Climate Partnership