Resource Details

Carbon Sequestration and Plant Community Dynamics Following Reforestation of Tropical Pasture

Literature: Journal Articles

Silver, W.L., Kueppers, L.M., Lugo, A.E., Ostertag, R. & Matzek, V. 2004, “Carbon Sequestration and Plant Community Dynamics Following Reforestation of Tropical Pasture ", Ecological Applications, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 1115-1127.

Contact Info

Corresponding Author:


  • Ecosystem Sciences Division, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, 151 Hilgard Hall Number 3110, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 USA
  • International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, Jardin Botanico Sur, 1201 Calle Ceiba, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00926-1119 USA


Ecological Applications

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Species Info

  • Brysonima spicata
  • Calophyllum antillanum
  • Casuarina equisitifolia (exotic)
  • Cedrela odorata
  • Cordia alliodora
  • Hymenaea courbaril
  • Lucuma multiflora
  • Petitia domingensis
  • Swietenia macrophylla (exotic)
  • Swietenia mahagoni (exotic)
  • Tabebuia heterophylla
  • Tectona grandis (exotic)
  • Thespesia grandiflora


  • Nine native species (Brysonima spicata, Calophyllum antillanum, Cedrela odorata, Cordia alliodora, Hymenaea courbaril, Lucuma multiflora, Petitia domingensis, Tabebuia heterophylla, Thespesia grandiflora) and four exotic species (Casuarina equisitifolia, Swietenia macrophylla, Swietenia mahogoni, Tectona grandis) were planted in the mid to late 1930s.
  • Permanent plots (116) were established to measure plant community characteristics and aboveground carbon over time. In those plots, soil carbon pools and carbon isotope values were also sampled from these plots.
  • Soil and litterfall measurements were sampled from 15 of the plots, and plant root sampling was conducted in nine of those plots.
  • In 1992, the species within the plots were measured and given an importance value based on frequency, abundance, basal area, and dominance.
  • There were 75 tree species in the 115 permanent plots with only eight of the species being non-native.
  • Of the 10 species with the highest importance value, only four were of those planted (the native T. terophylla, C. antillanum, H. courbaril, and the exotic T. grandis).
  • Unlike previous studies, the authors found that carbon sequestration during the later 33 years of growth was higher than the first 22 years.
  • Although many studies have assumed that conversion of pasture to forest will result in a net loss of carbon from soil, in this study, high carbon values were found in the soils despite the soil carbon loss from the previous land use.
  • Finally, the authors suggest that the increase in naturally regenerating species, especially native, demonstrated a strong increase of the biodiversity benefits of the plantation.

Geographical Region

  • Caribbean Islands
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