Resource Details

Restoration of a Sri-Lankan rainforest: Using Caribbean Pine Pinus caribaea as a nurse for establishing late-successional tree species

Literature: Journal Articles

Ashton, P.M.S., Gamage, S., Gunatilleke, I.A.U.N., and Gunatilleke, C.V.S. 1997, “Restoration of a Sri-Lankan rainforest: Using Caribbean Pine Pinus caribaea as a nurse for establishing late-successional tree species”, Journal of Applied Ecology, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 915-925.


  • School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT
  • Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka


Journal of Applied Ecology

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Species Info

  • Pinus carabaea (exotic)
  • Dipterocarpus zeylanicus
  • Mesua ferrea
  • Shorea disticha
  • Shorea megistophylla
  • Shorea trapezifolia


  • This study assesses the growth potential of 5 native late-successional species of Southwestern Sri Lanka under Pinus caribaea, grown in plantations, to inform appropriate species choice and placement in enrichment plantings.
  • The authors evaluated growth over 2 years, measuring eight, basal stem diameter, number of leaves, and mortality.  They destructively sampled some individuals to also measure leaf area and dry mass of roots, stems and leaves.
  • Growth was evaluated in 4 treatments: Pinus canopy removal, one row (1R); Pinus canopy removal, 3 rows (3R); a canopy edge treatment, in which seedlings were planted under 3 rows of P. caribaea next to an area of canopy removal (3U); and intact canopy, or closed canopy under-planting (control, CU).  Canopy openings were made in a N-S orientation.
  • The authors also measured daily photosynthetic photon flux (DPPF) in each treatment.
  • All species achieved greatest height in the 3R treatment and least height in the CU treatment, though height differences were not significant for all species, and some species achieved significantly greater height than others within treatments.
  • Greatest basal stem diameter was also achieved in the 3R treatment.
  • Number of leaves and leaf area also differed significantly among treatments and among species, with greatest number present in the 3R treatment and least in the CU treatment.  Total leaf area was also greatest in 3R and least in CU.
  • Root, stem and leaf mass, and total mass was greatest in 3R and least in CU for 3 species.
  • The study successfully demonstrates that native late-successional species can be grown under P. caribaea, though seedlings must have DPPF levels 4-5 times greater than those present beneath a closed Pinus canopy.
  • D. zeylanicus may be best suited for sites prone to desiccation, and S. disticha and S. megistophylla best for planting under intact canopy.

Geographical Region

  • Insular Southeast Asia
  • Ecosystems

  • Tropical Wet Forest
  • Country

  • Sri Lanka
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