Resource Details

Reforestation of Abandoned Pastures: Silvicultural Means to Accelerate Forest Recovery and Biodiversity

Literature: Books or Book Chapters

Weber, M., Gunter, S., Aguirre, N., Stimm, B. & Mosandl, R. 2008, "Reforestation of Abandoned Pastures: Silvicultural Means to Accelerate Forest Recovery and Biodiversity" in Gradients in a Tropical Mountain Ecosystem of Ecuador, ed. R. Mosandl, Springer Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 431-441.


  • TU-München Institute of Silviculture Am Hochanger 13 85354 Freising Germany
  • Universidad Nacional de Loja Department of Forest Ecology Ecuador


Gradients in a Tropical Mountain Ecosystem of Ecuador

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Species Info

  • Alnus acuminata,
  • Cedrela cf montana,
  • Heliocarpus americanus,
  • Juglans neotropica
  • Tabebuia crysantha
  • Pinus patula (exotic)
  • Eucalyptus saligna (exotic)


  • Despite the 2736 native tree species in Ecuador, the majority of forestation activities in the country are based on exotic pines and eucalypts.
  • In this book chapter, the authors describe the reason for this neglect being the lack of knowledge on the ecology and silvicultural treatment and the lack of nurseries growing these species.
  • The authors examine the reforestation of woody plants by both natural regeneration and plantation establishment.
  • For natural regeneration, the authors found that the abundance of anthropogenically valuable species was not common in natural regeneration plots, except some regeneration along the edge of the forest.
  • They found that species diversity and abundance decreased with distance from forest edge and suggest that dispersal is limiting beyond 20m from the forest.
  • For plantations, the authors tested the suitability of five native species (Alnus acuminata, Cedrela cf montana, Heliocarpus americanus, Juglans neotropica, and Tabebuia crysantha) and two exotic species (Pinus patula and Eucalyptus saligna) to grow in recently abandoned pasture, abandoned pasture dominated with bracken fern, and abandoned pasture covered with shrubs. The exotic species exhibited high growth and survival.
  • The Alnus species had the most height growth, even above the exotics, but survivability between 70 and 90% depending on the treatment.
  • The growth and survival did not differ greatly by treatment for each species, except for in the Alnus species where survival was lower in the fern pasture than the other treatments.
  • With herbicide application, differences between species in biomass allocation were minimal, while in areas without herbicide, some trees (Tabebuia) invested more biomass in roots that others (Cedrela).
  • The authors suggest that root competition is a factor in the allocation and early development of the trees.
  • Finally, the authors describe a study in which native species were able to regenerate under plantations of exotic pines.
  • Overall, they suggest that native species can tolerate harsh conditions when planted in abandoned pasturelands, but in some cases the use of exotics as "nurse trees" may be valuable for the subsequent enrichment planting of natives.

Geographical Region

  • Andean Region
  • Country

  • Ecuador
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