Old timber plantations and secondary forests attain levels of plant diversity and structure similar to primary forests in the West African humid tropics
There is a high rate of biodiversity loss and deforestation in tropical ecosystems. In order to maintain global biodiversity, it is necessary to conserve plant diversity in alternative forest landscapes such as secondary forests and plantations. Comparing conservation values and tradeoffs of different forest landscapes is important for sustainable forest management and conservation practices.
Goals and Methods
The authors aim to compare floristic composition, conservation value, and diversity of plantations, primary, and secondary forests in the moist forest zones of southern Ghana. In a field study, abandoned and unmanaged monoculture plantations with invasive species, similar aged secondary forests, and old growth forests were inventoried. Species, plant type, DBH, and forest cover are measured.
Conclusions and Takeaways
Unmanaged secondary forests and abandoned timber plantations show the ability to develop into self-sustaining, floristically and structurally complex forests. Sites that are closer to primary forest fragments show the highest ability for natural regeneration. The authors conclude that natural regeneration and forest plantations may facilitate large-scale forest restoration while saving money and meeting the goals of the Bonn challenge.
Old timber plantations and secondary forests attain levels of plant diversity and structure similar to primary forests in the West African humid tropics. Forest Ecology and Management. 2022;518:120271. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2022.120271..