Resource Details

Strategies for the recovery of degraded ecosystems: Experiences from Latin America

Literature: Journal Articles Available at NO COST

Montagnini, F. 2001, “Strategies for the recovery of degraded ecosystems: Experiences from Latin America”, Interciencia, vol. 26, no. 10, pp. 498-503.

Contact Info


Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 370 Prospect St. New Haven, CT 06511


Available at no cost Interciencia

Species Info

  • Albizia guachapele
  • Arapatiella psilophylla
  • Balfourodendron riedelianum
  • Balizia elegans
  • Bastardiopsis densiflora
  • Bombax macrophyllum
  • Bowdichia virgilioides
  • Buchenavia grandis
  • Caesalpinia echinata
  • Calophyllum brasiliense
  • Cassia spp.
  • Casuarina equisetifolia (exotic)
  • Centrolobium minus
  • Centrolobium robustum
  • Copaifera luscens
  • Cordia trichotoma
  • Croton niveus (exotic)
  • Cupressus lusitanica (exotic)
  • Dimorphandra jorgei
  • Dipteryx panamensis
  • Enterolobium contortisiliquum
  • Eschweilera ovata
  • Hieronyma alchorneoides
  • Hyeronima alchorneoides
  • Hymenaea aurea
  • Inga affinis
  • Jacaranda copaia
  • Lecythis pisonis
  • Licania hypoleuca
  • Macrolobium latifolium
  • Montanoa guatemalensis
  • Ocotea puberula
  • Parapiptadenia pterosperma
  • Pithecellobium elegans
  • Plathymenia foliolosa
  • Pradosia lactescens
  • Stryphnodendron microstachyum
  • Terminalia amazonia
  • Virola koschnyi
  • Vochysia ferruginea
  • Vochysia guatemalensis


  • This paper reviews the rehabilitation potential of native species forest plantations in lowland Costa Rica, the Atlantic Forest of Bahia, Brazil, and sub-tropical Argentina.  Native species can improve forest regeneration where soils are degraded and where sources of propagules are limited.
  • While most tropical plantations are dominated by exotic species, native trees may be more appropriate because they are better adapted to the local environment, are already familiar to local farmers, and their propagules are locally available.
  • Important criteria for choosing native species include fast growth, economic and environmental benefits, and seed and seedling availability.
  • In each of the 3 study sites, soil fertility and nitrogen availability were determined under native species, in areas without trees (abandoned pastures or grass areas), and in adjacent secondary forest.  Litterfall and forest-floor litter accumulation were also compared, using new and existing data.
  • In all 3 locations, soil quality (including nitrogen and carbon levels, organic matter, and cation levels) was higher under native species plantations than in non-plantation comparisons.
  • At La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica, aboveground biomass of 4 native species was higher than under non-local species.
  • At La Selva, regeneration of mixed and single-species plantations were compared using 12 indigenous tree species.  Plantations were compared with non-planted plots. 
  • Regeneration was generally higher under mixed plantations, and high leaf litter production was important in suppressing herbaceous vegetation that completes with tree seedlings.
  • Windbreaks and remnant trees are also important sources of native trees in areas where propagules are less available.  They also provide other environmental and economic services such as habitat and timber sources.

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