Survival and Early Growth of 51 Tropical Tree Species in Areas Degraded by Artisanal Gold Mining in the Peruvian Amazon
Artisanal and small-scale gold mining has dramatically changed the landscape of tropical ecosystems, completely removing the soil and vegetation and polluting it with mercury disposals. In order to recover these degraded spaces, reforestation projects need to enhance their knowledge of restoration species growth and survival rates under different site conditions, as well as their fertilization needs.
The authors of this study aim to (1) test 51 species with potential for ecological restoration and/or forest rehabilitation; (2) assess the potential for biochar amendments for use in reforestation efforts; and (3) explore species performance regarding their contrasting wood density traits.
Trees from the leguminous family have great potential to rehabilitate the soil properties of gold mining areas as a result of their high rate of primary and secondary growth. In addition, better seedling performance was linked to a higher wood density due to enhanced stress resistance. Therefore, the authors suggest that reforestation projects in abandoned gold mining areas should include “carefully selected species mixtures of low, mid and high wood density species to maximize survival and growth during the crucial early stages of establishment and to support long-term ecosystem functions.”
Survival and early growth of 51 tropical tree species in areas degraded by artisanal gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon. Ecological Engineering. 2021;159:106097. doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2020.106097.