Resource Details

Restoration of dry tropical forests in Central America: A review of pattern and process

Literature: Journal Articles

Griscom, H.P. & Ashton, M.S. 2011, "Restoration of dry tropical forests in Central America: A review of pattern and process", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 261, no. 10, pp. 1564-1579.

Contact Info

Corresponding Authors:;


  • Department of Biology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, United States
  • School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, United States


Forest Ecology and Management

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Species Info

  • Albizia adinocephala
  • Albizia guachapele
  • Astronium graveolens
  • Calycophyllum candidissimum
  • Cassia pallida
  • Cedrela odorata
  • Ceiba pentandra
  • Cochlospermum vitifolium
  • Colubrina glandulosa
  • Cordia alliodora
  • Dalbergia retusa
  • Diphysia robinoides
  • Gliricidea sepium
  • Hippomane mancinella
  • Hura crepitans
  • Luehea seemannii
  • Ochroma pyramidale
  • Pachira quinata
  • Swietenia macrophylla
  • Tabebuia spp. 
  • Anacardium excelsum
  • Andira inermis
  • Brosimum alicastrum
  • Bursera simaruba
  • Cecropia spp
  • Coccoloba spp
  • Copaifera aromatica
  • Crecentia alata
  • Curatella americana
  • Enterolobium cyclocarpum
  • Erythrina fusca
  • Guazuma ulmifolia
  • Hymenaea courbaril
  • Manilkara chicle
  • Muntingia calabura
  • Samanea samen
  • Sciadodendron excelsum
  • Spondias mombin
  • Sterculia apetala
  • Trema micrantha
  • Acacia mangium (exotic)
  • Albizia lebbeck (exotic)
  • Casuarina equisetifolia (exotic) 
  • Eucalyptus robusta (exotic)
  • Gmelina arborea (exotic) 
  • Leucaena leucocephala (exotic)
  • Pinus caribaea (exotic)
  • Tectona grandis (exotic)


  • This study presents an overview of the causes of degradation to tropical dry forests in Central America and offers restoration solutions that match the land-use history. Indigenous peoples cleared land for shifting agriculture while after the arrival of europeans, settlers cleared land for cattle raising and timber extraction.
  • The expansion of road networks resulted in more land clearing as it became easier for settlers to arrive to the frontier areas.
  • The highest rates of deforestation were in the 1960s when ranching expanded and parks had to be established as the primary means to protect what was left. The 1990s were marked by land abandonment and reforestation using exotic species plantations encouraged by government policies.
  • From these land-use types, the authors present two categories of degradation processes 1) acute one-time events such as land clearance, and 2) chronic repeated events such as fires, cattle grazing, and selective logging.
  • The authors provide a list describing species that could be used in plantings to restore tropical dry forest.
  • For acute disturbance, species will likely be able to grow back. In areas with longer history of disturbance, enrichment planting may be necessary to establish canopies to moderate the environment for more species to establish.
  • Plantations themselves might be the only option for areas where soils and vegetation have changed in their processes and structure for a long amount of time.
  • Natural recruitment may take over 10-15 years to occur underneath a plantation.
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