Designing mixed species tree plantations for the tropics : balancing ecological attributes of species with landholder preferences in the Philippines

Nguyen, Huong, Lamb, David, Herbohn, John, & Firn, Jennifer (2014) Designing mixed species tree plantations for the tropics : balancing ecological attributes of species with landholder preferences in the Philippines. PL o S One, 9(4), pp. 1-11.

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A mixed species reforestation program known as the Rainforestation Farming system was undertaken in the Philippines to develop forms of farm forestry more suitable for smallholders than the simple monocultural plantations commonly used then. In this study, we describe the subsequent changes in stand structure and floristic composition of these plantations in order to learn from the experience and develop improved prescriptions for reforestation systems likely to be attractive to smallholders. We investigated stands aged from 6 to 11 years old on three successive occasions over a 6 year period. We found the number of species originally present in the plots as trees >5 cm dbh decreased from an initial total of 76 species to 65 species at the end of study period. But, at the same time, some new species reached the size class threshold and were recruited into the canopy layer. There was a substantial decline in tree density from an estimated stocking of about 5000 trees per ha at the time of planting to 1380 trees per ha at the time of the first measurement; the density declined by a further 4.9% per year. Changes in composition and stand structure were indicated by a marked shift in the Importance Value Index of species. Over six years, shade-intolerant species became less important and the native shade-tolerant species (often Dipterocarps) increased in importance. Based on how the Rainforestation Farming plantations developed in these early years, we suggest that mixed-species plantations elsewhere in the humid tropics should be around 1000 trees per ha or less, that the proportion of fast growing (and hence early maturing) trees should be about 30–40% of this initial density and that any fruit tree component should only be planted on the plantation margin where more light and space are available for crowns to develop.

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ID Code: 72760
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Agricultural Production, Agricultural, Death Rates, Farms, Forests, Plant Ecology, Planting, Trees
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095267
ISSN: 1932-6203
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 12 Jun 2014 05:18
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2014 22:09

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