Towards effective reforestation: growth and commercial value of four commonly planted tropical timber species on infertile soils in Panama

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Finding suitable tree species that not only grow well on nutrient poor soils but are also safe financial investments is one of the major obstacles to successful reforestation efforts in the tropics. Our study compared the financial viability and growth of valuable timber species in monocultures and mixtures on infertile soils. Our work shows the extraordinary growth in volume and value of Dalbergia retusa and Terminalia amazonia while underscoring the poor financial viability of Tectona grandis and Pachira quinata, all commonly planted timber species in Panama and much of Central and South America. Using Bayesian statistics, our predictions show that T. amazonia monocultures could reach nearly 200 m3 ha−1 of merchantable volume after 30 years compared to the ~ 40 m3 ha−1 that T. grandis could accumulate in the same time frame. While D. retusa monocultures did not have the highest predicted merchantable volumes of all the species, it did have the highest predicted net present value (NPV), with a predicted mean NPV of > US$97,000 ha−1, quadrupling the species with the next highest monoculture’s NPV, T. amazonia monocultures (~ US$20,000 ha−1). Our work emphasizes that reforestation can be financially viable on low nutrient soils, even in the absence of fertilization or other silvicultural manipulations, if species selection and site are carefully considered and matched.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sinacore, K; García, EH; Howard, T; van Breugel, M; Lopez, OR; Finkral, AJ; Hall, JS

Published Date

  • January 1, 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 54 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 125 - 142

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-5095

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0169-4286

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11056-022-09906-0

Citation Source

  • Scopus