Resource Details

Impacts of Native Trees on Tropical Soils: A Study in the Atlantic Lowlands of Costa Rica

Literature: Journal Articles

Montagnini, F. & Sancho, F. 1990, "Impacts of Native Trees on Tropical Soils: A Study in the Atlantic Lowlands of Costa Rica," Ambio, vol. 19, no. 8, pp. 386-390.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT, 06511
  • Centro de Investigaciones Agronomicas, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Jose, Costa Rica, Central America



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Species Info

  • Stryphnodendron excelsum
  • Dalbergia tucurensi
  • Dipteryx panamensis
  • Vochysia hondurensis
  • Vochysia ferruginea
  • Tabebuia rosea


  • This article describes the results of a study in Costa Rica that compared the soil fertility in a 2.5 year-old plantation of 6 native tree species, grass pasture, and 20 year-old secondary forest.  
  • Soil extractable Ca, Mg, K, P, Fe, Mn, Cu and Zn, the pH, exchangeable acidity, organic matter and total N were measured in all three plots.
  • Organic matter and total soil nitrogen were highest in the secondary forest, followed by the plantation and the pasture; values for these measurements in plantation soil were close to those in the secondary forest.
  • Of the native tree species tested, soils beneath V. ferruginea produced the highest values for soil organic matter, total N, Ca, and P. 
  • The highest soil nitrate content was found in soils beneath S. excelsum and D. tucurensis, both leguminous species.
  • The authors recommend the use of these results to promote the use of native tree species in agroforesty and plantation systems, given their potential to enhance soil recovery on degraded pastures in the region.

Geographical Region

  • Southern Central America
  • Country

  • Costa Rica
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