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The apparent paradox of reestablishing species richness on degraded lands with tree monocultures

Literature: Journal Articles Available at NO COST

Lugo, A.E. 1997, "The apparent paradox of reestablishing species richness on degraded lands with tree monocultures", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 99, no. 1-2, pp. 9-19.


  • International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, PO Box 25000, Rı́o Piedras, PR 00928-5000, USA


U.S. Forest Service

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Forest Ecology and Management

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  • This article discusses the use of tropical tree plantations as an approach to rehabilitation of degraded landscapes. 
  • For extremely degraded sites, the use of plantations may provide the proper shade, microclimate and protection for other species to colonize the understory. 
  • Research on the use of plantations in restoration is discussed, with examples primarily from Puerto Rico.
  • In one study comparison, they found that both a plantation and a paired secondary forest had similar productive potential, with the plantation accumulating more aboveground biomass and the secondary forest accumulating more belowground biomass.
  • Likewise, more mass and nutrients were stored in litter in plantations than in secondary forests.
  • In general, tree plantations studies have shown their potential for improving soil conditions, with specific effects dependent on the species.
  • Tree monocultures can be more susceptible to disturbances from storm damage and pests than secondary forests due to structural differences.
  • Selection of the plantation tree species can impact the diversity and structure of understory regeneration.
  • The article ends by posing questions for future research.

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