New Forests

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 253–268 | Cite as

Growth, carbon sequestration, and management of native tree plantations in humid regions of Costa Rica

Article

Abstract

The Costa Rican government has provided incentives for reforestation programs since 1986 and initiated a Payment for Environmental Services program in 1996. These incentives yielded native species reforestation programs throughout the country. This research aims to provide information about growth, carbon sequestration, and management of seven native tree species (Vochysia guatemalensis, Vochysia ferruginea, Hyeronima alchorneoides, Calophyllum brasiliense, Terminalia amazonia, Virola koschnyi, and Dipteryx panamensis) growing in small and medium-sized plantations in the Caribbean and Northern lowlands of Costa Rica. A total of 179 plots were evaluated in 32 farms. Overall, I found that V. guatemalensis, V. ferruginea, H. alchorneoides, and T. amazonia were the species with the fastest diameter, total height, and volume growth; and T. amazonia and D. panamensis sequestered more carbon. Moreover, I found that the plantations that had been thinned before this assessment had the best growth. The results of the present research enhance the criteria elaborated in previous research findings to improve species choices for reforestation and silvicultural management in Costa Rica and in other regions with similar ecological features. Furthermore, they support the concept that tropical plantations can serve diverse economic, social, and ecological functions that may ultimately help reduce atmospheric CO2 accumulation.

Keywords

Productivity Silvicultural management Allometric equations Environmental services Timber production Aboveground biomass 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The author thanks the following people and institutions for their contribution to this research project. F. Montagnini provided useful guidance during the field work and previous drafts of this document. J. Reuning-Scherer provided advice in the statistical analyses. S. Prasad, A. Johnson, L. Kiernan, A. Letzter, A. Doolittle, E. Deliso, and D. Piotto (Yale F&ES) and three anonymous reviewers also provided useful comments in previous drafts of this paper. A. Sanchun, G. Obando (FUNDECOR), O. Murillo, Y. Bonilla, M. Castillo (TEC), G. Guardiola and colleagues (CACSA), M. Flores, and P. Montero (Flora y Fauna) were my collaborators to conduct this study in their reforestation projects. M. Castillo (TEC), W. Cruz, Huber, Macho, and D. Vargas (OTS) provided their best conducting the field work. I also thank all the local landowners who allowed us to work on their farms. This research was funded by the Compton Foundation and the Tropical Resources Institute from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forestry and Environmental StudiesYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

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