Responses of transplanted native tree species


Responses of transplanted native tree species

Responses of transplanted native tree species to invasive alien grass removals in an abandoned cattle pasture in the Lacandon region, Mexico

Román-Dañobeytia, F., J. Castellanos-Albores, S. I. Levy-Tacher, J. Aronson, N. Ramírez-Marcial & R. Ribeiro Rodrigues 2012. Responses of 16 transplanted early-, mid-, and late-successional native tree species to invasive alien grass removals in an abandoned cattle pasture in the Lacandon region, Mexico. Tropical Conservation Science 5(2):192-207.

Abstract
We tested the early performance of 16 native early-, mid-, and late-successional tree species in response to four intensities of grass removal in an abandoned cattle pasture dominated by the introduced, invasive African grass, Cynodon plectostachyus, within the Lacandon rainforest region, southeast Mexico. The increase in grass removals significantly improved the performance of many species, especially of early- and mid-successional species, while performance of late-successional species was relatively poor and did not differ significantly among treatments. Good site preparation and at least one additional grass removal four months after seedling transplant were found to be essential; additional grass removals led to improved significantly performance of saplings in most cases. In order to evaluate the potential of transplanting tree seedlings successfully in abandoned tropical pastures, we developed a “planting risk index”, combining field performance measurements and plantation cost estimations. Our results showed a great potential for establishing restoration plantings with many early- and mid- successional species. Although planting risk of late-successional species was considered high, certain species showed some possibilities of acclimation after 18 months and should be considered in future plantation arrangements in view of their long-term contributions to biodiversity maintenance and also to human welfare through delivery of ecosystem services. Conducting a planting risk analysis can help avoid failure of restoration strategies involving simultaneous planting of early-, mid-, and late-successional tree species. This in turn will improve cost-effectiveness of initial interventions in large-scale, long-term restoration programs.

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