The role of species mixtures in plantation forestry

The role of species mixtures in plantation forestry


Forest plantations are increasingly being established around the world, yet many are often monocultures. While the paper recognizes that all plantations are beneficial in terms of restoration, it specifically seeks to explore the advantages of mixed-species plantations. 

Goals & Methods

The aim of the study is to examine whether mixed-species plantations provide greater yields or other ecological benefits than monoculture plantations; the authors also take into account the simplicity of monocultures. The paper reviews recent studies that compare stand development and productivity of both types of plantations. 

Conclusions & Takeaways

Considering stand productivity, individual growth rate and stem quality, growing of multiple products, reduced risk of pest damage, and restoration of degraded lands, the article concludes that the recent studies significantly promotes the planting of mixed spicies plantations. While the studies reviewed do contribute greatly to knowledge of forestry plantations, the authors also recognize that there are gaps in a number of topics, such as the prevalence and mechanisms of beneficial belowground interactions; the effects of site factors and spacing onspecies interactions; and the prevalence of beneficial interac-tions across a broad range of tree species. More research is required to fill these gaps.



Kelty MJ. The role of species mixtures in plantation forestry. Forest Ecology and Management. 2006;233:195–204. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2006.05.011.


  • Department of Natural Resources Conservation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, USA