Mixed Forest Plantations

  • Jon Urgoiti Otazua
  • Alain Paquette
Part of the Managing Forest Ecosystems book series (MAFE, volume 31)


Forest plantations have become increasingly important worldwide. Whereas the global forest area is reduced every year, the establishment of forest plantations is experiencing a notable increase in the last decades. This trend also brings an increase in the dependence of society on forest plantations to obtain both timber and non-timber services. However, currently, the vast majority of forest plantations are composed of monospecific stands under the premise that they facilitate and maximize the harvesting of a few desirable tree species. As informed by biodiversity-ecosystem functioning science, these species-poor plantations may alter negatively the quality of ecosystem functions and services that humankind obtain from them. In addition, both forest plantations and natural forests are facing unprecedented ecological disturbances driven by global change as well as socio-economic uncertainties. This calls for a novel long-term forest management which seeks to provide tree plantations that are more resistant and resilient as well as able to adapt to these changes in social and environmental conditions. We argue that mixed plantations are the best option to meet these goals, since mixed-species stands support species with different biotic and abiotic sensitivities and recovery mechanisms following disturbances, thus ensuring the ability to self-organize, increasing resilience and adaptive capacity. In this chapter, we review a list of socioecological uncertainties and risks that forest plantations may face and how more diverse plantations can better cope with them compared to monocultures while stabilizing productivity or helping fight global warming through carbon sequestration.


Mixed forest plantation Tree plantations Resilience Resistance Adaptability Forest management Uncertainties Risks Disturbances Productivity Ecosystem services 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jon Urgoiti Otazua
    • 1
  • Alain Paquette
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Forest Research (CFR)Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)MontrealCanada

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