Foliar herbivory and leaf traits of five native tree species in a young plantation of Central Panama
Timber plantations often provide economic incentives for land owners to restore abandoned pastures or agricultural land to forest, yet the threat of insect herbivory can diminish these new plantations and compromise the efforts. This study seeks to understand the extent of these threats on tree plantations in Panama.
Research Goals & Methods
This study aims to understand the effects of insect herbivores on five timber species native to Panama, including Anacardium excelsum (Anacardiaceae), Dalbergia retusa (Fabaceae), Pachira quinata (Malvaceae), Tabebuia rosea (Bignoniaceae), and Terminalia amazonia (Combretaceae). All trees were all 1 year-old tree saplings at the time of the study and were grown in 15 plots with 15 trees each. The authors conducted leaf counts and digital analysis while values of foliar carbon, foliar nitrogen, specific leaf area (SLA), and leaf toughness were also analyzed.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The authors found that less than 10% of total leaf area for all the trees tested were damaged by insects but there was a significant difference between all species in degree of herbivory. Leaf toughness was negatively correlated with SLA and foliar nitrogen and herbivory was positively correlated with foliar Nitrogen for young leaves and negatively correlated for mature leaves. Based on these findings, the authors conclude that these five trees did not suffer high levels of foliar herbivory as saplings.
Foliar herbivory and leaf traits of five native tree species in a young plantation of Central Panama. New Forests. 2011;43:69–87. doi:10.1007/s11056-011-9267-7..
- Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, USA
- Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama