The tree planting and protecting culture of cattle ranchers and small-scale agriculturalists in rural Panama: Opportunities for reforestation and land restoration
Deforestation rates are high in mesoamerican, particularly within dry forests, thus threatening the regions biodiversity and livelihoods of local peoples. To address these trends, there has been a push to support and promote farming strategies that are compatible with conservation goals, particularly those that pursue a range of activities. This study focuses in Panama where these strategies are expanding and examines the tree planting and land protecting activities of cattle ranchers and small-scale agriculturalists.
Goals & Methods
The goal of this study is to increase the knowledge and understanding of tree species that rural landholders want to plant and how these individuals are currently managing and using native trees and forests in their daily lives. To do so, the authors worked in two rural communities in Panama, documenting the tree species that farmers utilize, plant, and protect on their land and around their homes, or would like to plant, and the motivations for these practices.
Conclusions & Takeaways
The study found that the communities used 99 different tree species, most of which had multiple uses or purposes. Moreover, the farmers had diverse reasons and motivations for planting or maintaining trees, including providing shade for cattle, improving environmental conditions, wood, and so on. As the author stress, much of this information is novel and shows a previously unacknowledge and large unexpected culture of tree planting and management in rural Panamanian communities. With this information, the authors provide policy recommendations for reforestation efforts that would build on and support this culture.
The tree planting and protecting culture of cattle ranchers and small-scale agriculturalists in rural Panama: Opportunities for reforestation and land restoration. Forest Ecology and Management. 2011;261:1684–1695. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.10.011..
- Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS), Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama
- Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, USA
- United States Peace Corps, Panamá American Embassy, Panama