Initial performance and reforestation potential of 24 tropical tree species planted across a precipitation gradient in the Republic of Panama
Panama has experience significant forest loss due to the conversion of forest lands to agriculture and pasture, causing significant negative effects on ecosystems. Since natural regeneration is slow, the country has recently turned to plantation forestry in order to restore these degraded. Yet, many of these initiatives simply use a few exotic species. This study explores the performance of a range of species, including both native and exotic, in order to better ensure the success and adoption of diversified reforestation strategies.
Goals & Methods
This article presents the results of a long-term study that examined the reforestation potential of 24 tree species, 22 of which were native to Panama and 2 were exotic. The study used three categories to evaluate potential, including restoration potential, timber production, and on-farm systems. The experiment began with seed collection and seedling cultivation. The seedling were then replanted in one of three study sites, in which there was three plots for each species and each plot containing 20 individuals. Soil measurements were taken at each site and seedlings were measured regularly.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The study found that Acacia mangium, Diphysa robinoides, Gliricidia sepium, Guazuma ulmifolia, and Ochroma pyramidale are ideal for restoration efforts that aim to stabilize soil and establish canopy cover. D. robinoides and G. sepium have potential for soil restoration while Tectona grandis, Pachira quinata and Tabebuia rosea were ideal for wood production. Overall, the study provides encouraging findings for the future of forest restoration in Panama and the authors hope that the results will be utilized by practitioners and land owners to diversify their strategies.
Initial performance and reforestation potential of 24 tropical tree species planted across a precipitation gradient in the Republic of Panama. Forest Ecology and Management. 2007;243:39–49. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2007.02.001.
- Native Species Reforestation Project (PRORENA), Center for Tropical Forest Science, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
- Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, USA