Resource Details

Growth characteristics of some native tree species used in silvopastoral systems in the humid lowlands of Costa Rica

Literature: Journal Articles

Montagnini, F., Ugalde, L., & Navarro, C. 2003, "Growth characteristics of some native tree species used in silvopastoral systems in the humid lowlands of Costa Rica", Agroforestry Systems, vol. 59, no. 2, pp. 163-170.

Contact Info

Corresponding author:


  • Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, (CATIE) 7170 Turrialba Costa Rica 7170 Turrialba Costa Rica
  • Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies 370 Prospect St. New Haven CT 06511 USA 370 Prospect St. New Haven CT 06511 USA


Agroforestry Systems

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Species Info

  • Calophyllum brasiliense
  • Vochysia guatemalensis 
  • Jacaranda copaia
  • Virola koschnyi
  • Dipterix panamensis
  • Terminalia amazonia
  • Genipa americana
  • Vochysia ferruginea 
  • Hieronyma alchorneoides
  • Balizia elegans
  • Stryphnodendrom microstachyum
  • Pseudoamanea guachapele


  • In this paper, the authors present the results of 12 native species planted in abandoned pastures in Costa Rica and the suitability of those species for use in silvopastoral systems.
  • The 12 native species were planted in single species plots as well as mixtures of four species in three different plantations, with each mixed plantation having one nitrogen-fixing species.
  • For each planting treatment, there were plots that underwent thinning at three and six year from establishment and plots that underwent no thinning.
  • The total height, diameter at breast height (DBH), survival, basal area, and bole volume were compared. 
  • The authors recommend Vochysia guatemalensis for its high growth in both mixed and pure plantations, its ability to let in light for pasture grasses, and the high litterfall.
  • Calophyllum brasiliense and Dipterix panamensis had good timber quality, but slower growth; however, the authors suggest that if income from silvopastoral systems can offsett the early costs of planting the trees, the trees will later provide high value to the landowner.
  • Terminalia amazonia and Virola koschnyi also demonstrated good growth, timber quality, and ability to let light through for pastures.
  • Hieronyma alchorneoides and Vochysia ferruginea, the authors recommend wider spacing in silvopastoral systems because the litter adds nutrients to the soil but in close spacing may compete with pasture growth.
  • The authors describes, the mixtures performed very well and have the added benefit of product diversification.
  • Finally the authors explain that a national Payment for Environmental Services (PES) system can provide the economic incentives for the establishment of native tree species on pasturelands in Costa Rica.

Geographical Region

  • Southern Central America
  • Ecosystems

  • Tropical Wet Forest
  • Country

  • Costa Rica
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