Resource Details

Mixed-Species Plantings, chapter 7 from "Regreening the Bare Hills: Tropical Reforestation in the Asia-Pacific Region"

Literature: Books or Book Chapters Available at NO COST

Lamb, D. 2011, Regreening the Bare Hills. Tropical forest restoration in the Asia-Pacific Region. Series: World Forests, Vol. 8, Springer.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


University of Queensland


This e-book is available free of cost from SpringerLink

Species Info

Euterpe oleraceae

Hyeronima alchorneoides

Cedrela odorata

Cordia alliadora

Acacia auriculiformis

Diperocarpus alutus

Hopea odorata

Santalum spp. (Sandalwood)


  • This chapter reviews the use of mixed plantations for the goal of reforestation. Generally, advantages are a more efficient use of resources, pest resistance, and economic and ecological resilience. When establishing a new tropical reforestation program, if you are unaware of the site conditions (and what species to choose), mixed plantations can provide greater insurance.  Mixed plantations are more expensive to establish (but may provide insurance against volatile markets)
  • Some examples of complementarity (choosing various species that complement each other) include nitrogen fixing, niche partitioning (light use, soil nutrient use), and advanced regeneration (some species will already be growing when the overstory is harvested). Species selected for mixed plantations can be classified into functional groups - by taxa, life form, resource use, response to disturbance, ecosystem role, etc. Formulaes (p. 307) can evaluate complementarity.  
  •  In an example from Ewel & Mazzarino (2008), Euterpe oleraceae and Hyeronima alchorneoides, (evergreen), Cedrela odorata, Cordia alliadora (deciduous) were planted, and Euterpe dominated the deciduous trees (total NPP declined) but complemented the evergreen. 
  • (Erskine et al (2006) in north Australia found increasing species richness (in mixed plantations) was correlated with increased productivity (but other studies find the reverse).  
  • Acacia auriculiformis, used as a nurse tree, facilitates high value native tree plantings by ameliorating degraded conditions (Imperata grasslands), but the Acacia needs to be removed at the correct time before they inhibit the growth of the replacement class.  The density of Acacia negatively affected the growth of Diperocarpus alutus but didn't affect the Hopea odorata)
  • Mixed plantations can include higher quality native sawlogs (for the long term) and fast growing Eucalyptus for poles (for short term) (and the eucalyptus can encourage the timber trees to grow straighter).   
  • Sandalwood (Santalum spp.) is valuable timber and a hemi-parasite and needs to be grown with a host (sometimes a different host in the seedling stage in the nursery and the adult stage in the forest)
  • A different version of mixed plantations are mosaics of monocultures (at a larger scale) -- sometimes this happens naturally as small holders choose different trees to plant, or it can happen intentionally as a large landowner will choose different species for different sites (or goals).

Geographical Region

  • General
  • Mainland Southeast Asia
  • Ecosystems

  • General
  • Country

  • General
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