Growth in pure and mixed plantations of tree species used in reforesting rural areas of the humid region of Costa Rica, Central America
Despite government incentives in Costa Rica for establishing and maintaining native tree plantations since the 1990s, farmers and small landowners often lack adequate knowledge about plantation management. Yield and rotation periods for each of the ten most common species grown in monoculture have previously been published. This paper compares productivity in monoculture and mixtures at La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica.
Research goals & methods
Pure and mixed plantations were established in 1991-92 on flat terrain used for pasture for the prior 30 years. After 10-11 years of growth, subplots were established and populations were censused.
Conclusions & takeaways
In monocultures, Jacaranda copaia, Vochysia guatemalensis, and Vochysia ferruginea were the most productive of 10 species compared. However, J. copaia and V. guatemalensis grew significantly faster in mixtures than in monocultures. A mixture of J. copaia, V. guatemalensis, and Calophyllum brasiliense produced 21% more merchantable volume than a monoculture of J. copaia, which grew the fastest of the three species. Mixed plantations of Dipteryx panamensis, Virola koschnyi, and Terminalia amazonia had productivity rates similar to monocultures of the fastest growing species (Virola koschnyi). The productivity of mixed plantations of V. ferruginea, Hyeronima alchorneoides, Genipa americana, and Balizia elegans was intermediate from the respective species’ productivities in monocultures. Cultivating tree species in mixtures affected species’ growth forms and ability to persist on the site.
Growth in pure and mixed plantations of tree species used in reforesting rural areas of the humid region of Costa Rica, Central America. Forest Ecology and Management. 2006;233:338–343. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2006.05.030..
- USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Watershed Recovery Program
- Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
- La Selva Biological Field Station, Costa Rica