Resource Details

Attempting restoration of wet tropical forests in Costa Rica

Literature: Journal Articles Available at NO COST

Leopold, A., Andrus, R., Finkelday, A., & Knowles, D. 2001, "Attempting restoration of wet tropical forests in Costa Rica", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 142, no. 1-3, pp. 243-249.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research, Tropical Forestry Initiative, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA
  • Department of Biology, Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY 13902, USA
  • 7 Fiddlers Green, Lansing, NY 14882, USA
  • Department of Biology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA


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Species Info

  • Schizolobium parahybum
  • Terminalia amazonia
  • Albizzia longepedata
  • Platymiscium pinnatum
  • Enterolobium cyclocarpum
  • Pithocolobium arboreum
  • Cedrella odorata
  • Vochysia ferruginea
  • Brosmium utile
  • Simarouba glauca
  • Caryocar costaricensis
  • Tachigalia versicolor
  • Rollinia jimenezii
  • Bombax barrigon
  • Theobroma angustifolium
  • Calophyllum braziliense
  • Ceiba pentandra
  • Tabebuia chrysantha
  • Swietenia macrophylla
  • Pithecolobium saman
  • Dalbergia retusa
  • Callycophyllum candidissium
  • Vitex cooperi
  • Anacardium excelsum
  • Vatairea lundelii
  • Virola koschnyi
  • Oreamunoa pterocarpa
  • Hymenaea courbaril
  • Terminalia oblonga
  • Hura crepitans
  • Bombax spp.
  • Hieronema alchorneoides
  • Stryphnodendron microstachyum
  • Ostronium graveolens
  • Tabebuia rosea
  • Guarea rhopalacarpa
  • Lafoensia punicifolia
  • Ormosia velutina
  • Vochisia ferruginea
  • Minquartia guianensis
  • Aspidosperma creuten


  • This article describes a reforestation effort of the Tropical Forestry Initiative using mixed stands of native species to recover abandoned pastureland in the tropical wet forest of Costa Rica.
  • Over a period of 5 years, an area of 5 hectares of abandoned pasture was reforested and monitored in stages.
  • Initially, the seeds of 7 native hardwoods species were collected, raised in a nursery, and then planted as saplings.
  • Approximately 5000 saplings were planted in the first year, spaced at 3m x 3m in open pastureland and at 4m x 4 m in areas of partial scrub growth.
  • In the following five years, 3000 to 5000 saplings were planted per year and the plantings were expanded to include 41 native species.
  • Transects totaling 750 meters were used to measure the height and dbh of those trees planted in the first year.
  • The recovery of species complexity was assessed in seven 20m x 20m plots, based on the identification, mapping, and measurement of all planted and colonizing seedlings, as well as the canopy coverage.
  • Of the 7 species which were planted originally, Schizolobium parahybum and Terminalia amazonia had the fastest growth rates, while Pithecelobium arboreum and Platymiscium pinnatum had the slowest growth rates.
  • With regard to species complexity, the quadrats showed that 46% of the ground cover had been occupied by volunteer scrub and tree species, especially by 10 early-succession tree species.
  • Except for 2 species, Enterolobium cyclocarpum and Cedrela odorata, all planted species showed over a 90% survival rate.
  • The authors suggest that the results of this experiment indicate good prospects for mixed-stand, native species reforestation as an alternative to monoculture plantations.


Geographical Region

  • Southern Central America
  • Ecosystems

  • Tropical Wet Forest
  • Country

  • Costa Rica
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