The Apparent Paradox of Reestablishing Species Richness on Degraded Lands with Tree Monocultures
This article discusses the use of tropical tree plantations as an approach to rehabilitation of degraded landscapes. For extremely degraded sites, the use of plantations may provide the proper shade, microclimate and protection for other species to colonize the understory. Research on the use of plantations in restoration is discussed, with examples primarily from Puerto Rico.
Conclusions & Takeaways
In one study comparison, the authors found that both a plantation and a paired secondary forest had similar productive potential, with the plantation accumulating more aboveground biomass and the secondary forest accumulating more belowground biomass. Likewise, more mass and nutrients were stored in litter in plantations than in secondary forests. In general, tree plantations studies have shown their potential for improving soil conditions, with specific effects dependent on the species. Tree monocultures can be more susceptible to disturbances from storm damage and pests than secondary forests due to structural differences. Selection of the plantation tree species can impact the diversity and structure of understory regeneration.
The apparent paradox of reestablishing species richness on degraded lands with tree monocultures. Forest Ecology and Management. 1997;99:9–19. doi:10.1016/s0378-1127(97)00191-6..
- International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Rı́o Piedras, PR, USA