Resource Details

Applying indigenous knowledge to the restoration of degraded tropical rain forest clearings dominated by Bracken fern

Literature: Journal Articles

Douterlungne, D., Levy-Tacher, S.I., Golicher, D.J., & Dañobeytia, F.R. 2010, "Applying indigenous knowledge to the restoration of degraded tropical rain forest clearings dominated by Bracken fern", Restoration Ecology, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 322-329.

Contact Info

Douterlungne, D.:


  • Departamento de Ecología y Sistemática Terrestre, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Carretera Panamericana y Periférico Sur s/n, C.P. 29290, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
  • Etnobiología para la conservación A.C., Lago Urmiah 5, Colonia Pensil Norte Manuel Hidalgo, C.P., 11430 México D.F., Mexico

Species Info

- Ochroma pyramidale


  • The authors describe a traditional crop fallow management system of the Lacandon Maya of Chiapas, which relies on Ochroma pyramidale to shade out the invasive fern Pteridium aquilinum (Bracken fern) which commonly prevents secondary forest succession when fallow periods are reduced.
  • The Lacandon Maya plant Ochroma pyramidale through broadcast sowing at the end of the cropping period to provide nutrients and impede invasion of Pteridium aquilinum.
  • The authors compared survival and growth in the traditional Lacandon planting method (broadcast sowing) with direct sowing and transplated nusery-raised seedlings for one year. Different weeding intensities for Bracken were employed.
  • Surival was highest in transplanted seedlings, regardless of weeding intensity. All planting methods showed high survival, but for direct and broadcast sowing, weeding was necessary for the seeds to establish.
  • Height growth was reduced in transplanted seedlings, compared to seeds. The authors point out a tradeoff between higher cost seedlings with higher survival rates, and lower cost abundant seeds which can compensate for lower survival and predation rates.
  • Bracken was successfully shaded out in all treatments (burning before planting, weeding every 2 weeks, and weeding every 4 weeks). No added value was found in weeding beyond four months after establishment.
  • While the results from applying traditional Lacandon methods of sowing and burning to control weeds were variable, and survival rates for broadcast sowing were lower than for transplanted seedlings, these traditional methods have the advantage of being cheap, simple, and compatible with the local context.


  • Mexico
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