Resource Details

Consequences of plantation harvest during tropical forest restoration in Uganda

Literature: Journal Articles

Duncan, R.S. & Chapman, C.A. 2003, "Consequences of plantation harvest during tropical forest restoration in Uganda", Forest Ecology and Management, vol. 173, nos. 13, pp. 235-250.

Contact Info

R. Scott Duncan,


  • University of Florida, Department of Zoology, Gainesville, Florida


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Species Info

  • Erythrina excelsa
  • Erythrococca trichogyne
  • Maesa lanceolata
  • Monodora myristica
  • Prunus africana
  • Prunus fulva
  • Uvariopsis congensis
  • Cupressus lusitanica (Exotic)
  • Pinus caribeae (Exotic)
  • Pinus patula (Exotic)


  • This study investigates 4 questions relevant to managing plantations for restoring forests and managing successional forests in Kibale National Park, Uganda.
  • Influence of initial recruits on succession by quantifying how vegetation differed between the only remaining unlogged low-density plantation and an adjacent logged high-density plantation was assessed. In addition, native vegetation present before logging to that at <1 and 4-6 years after logging in moderately disturbed plots were recorded. Furthermore, stem damage to native species from logging was assessed and compared stem damage on moderately to heavily disturbed sites.
  • The results showed forest regrowth in logged low-density plantations to be slower than in logged high-density plantations. While true for the first few years of succession, by 4-6 years tree sapling density and species richness were similar between both sites. Suggesting that for this rapid convergence, managers may not always need to invest resources into accelerating succession on sites with low recruit densities.
  • Additionally, logging in low-density stands had no effect on most stem variables within the first year. In contrast to logging in the high-density plantations that led to declines in sapling densities and increase in seedling variables within the first year. This increase was possibly attributed to light availability for seedlings in the understory. Comparing logged and unlogged plantations, it was observed that tree seedlings and saplings were more abundant and species rich 4-6 years after logging than in unlogged plantations.
  • Furthermore, in the study site, removal of all non-tree vegetation within the first year had no effect on recruitment, survival, or growth of trees at the community level. This suggests that any facilitative and inhibitive effects of non-trees were weak, or that they offset each other.
  • In summary, the research suggests in order to use plantations for forest restoration, harvesting the mature plantation promotes forest succession more than leaving it intact. In addition, fire exclusion may be just as or more effective than either strategy, although the costs of excluding fire and the timescale of the program must be considered.

Geographical Region

  • East Africa
  • Country

  • Uganda
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