Evaluation of Native Tree Species for the Rehabilitation of Deforested Areas in a Mexican Cloud Forest
This study examines the survival of four native tree species used in mixed-experimental plantations in the tropical montane forest of Veracruz, Mexico (1300-1900m). Tropical montane covers only 1% of land surface in Mexico but contains ~ 10% of all flowering plants. In Veracruz, forest fragments occupy on 10% of the oringinal forest cover.
Research Goals & Methods
Liquidambar styraciflua, Carpinus caroliniana, Juglans pyriformis, and Podocarpus matudae, four common native trees of the region, were planted as 1-2 year seedlings. Trees were planted as containerized seedlings and as bare root, at 3mx 3m spacing, in 35 cm deep holes. Plantations were not irrigated or fertilized but were weeded every 6-8 months.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The researchers found that tree growth was dependent on site condition(land use history) and shade tolerance of the planted species. Specifically, Liquidamber and Carpinus are light demanding and had the fastest growth, whereas Podocarpus is shade tolerant and had the slowest growth across all sites. The plantation with the highest average survival (82% after 18 months) and growth was site 2, an old field with advanced natural regeneration (remnant trees and natural regrowth). Site 1 (abandoned 10 years prior) also had high survival (63%), even though it was on a steep slope. The degraded site (site 3, high compaction and grass domination) had low overall survival (22%) but high survival of Juglans (76%). Sites 4 and 5 were already planted in a mixed species restoration and not evaluated in the same manner as sites 1-3. The authors conclude that the native species selected in the study make appropriate species for native forest restoration in the montane forests of Mexico, but that difference in site conditions must be accounted for.
Evaluation of native tree species for the rehabilitation of deforested areas in a Mexican cloud forest. New Forests. 2003;26:83–99. doi:10.1023/a:1024423511760..
- Instituto de Ecología, A. C.Xalapa, México