Performance of forest plantations in small and medium-sized farms in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica
While exotic trees are typically used in plantations throughout the tropics, there has been recognition that certain native species are also suitable. This study aims to compare the viability of both native and exotic tree species for plantation use.
Goals & Methods
The aim of the study was to evaluate the growth of native and exotic tree species on plantations in small and medium-sized farms in the Atlantic humid lowlands of Costa Rica, Central America. The authors evaluate on 210 pure plantations, ranging in age from 6 to 11 years, on 123 farms. For each species, seven plantations were chosen at random for study and plots of 15 trees in each plantation were chosen systematically for evaluation of diameter at breast height (dbh), total height, number of trees per hectare, tree form and spacing.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The authors found that V. guatemalensis and T. amazonia, two native species, showed good growth in volument, good form, and adaptability to various sites, thus making them werethe most promising species for reforestation. Exotic species showed poor form, which was related to the low intensity management methods of small farmers. Exotic species had the highest performance variability between sites, while native species showed relatively high growth homogeneity. Therefore, native species seem more promising than exotics for general use across varying ecological conditions.
Performance of forest plantations in small and medium-sized farms in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica. Forest Ecology and Management. 2003;175:195–204. doi:10.1016/s0378-1127(02)00127-5..
- Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Costa Rica
- Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, USA