Native Species Valuable timber plantations in Northern Guatemalan Humid Lowlands: ecological features and silvicultural feasibility

Boris A. Mendez-Paiz, Adrián Serech-Van Haute


The North Humid Guatemalan Lowlands contains a significant diversity of tree species, incluiding some valuable-timber producers; these species are threatened by commercial overexploitation and habitat loss due to deforestation. The cultivation of these species in forest and agroforest plantations is a potentially viable optiontheir conservation and commercial harvesting, something that has been promoted with Government Incetemala during the past two decades. However, these species have not been widely planted, among othebecause knowledge on their ecological requirements and silviculture is scarce. A characterization of momixed plantations with 14 native valuable-timber species was made in the Humid Lowlands of Northeranalyzing for each species frequency of association and accompanying species, planted area, the main etures and growth rates. To gather information, we combined field observation and measurements with iliterature review. Based on our survey, main management challenges for cultivation of the species were described. Valuable-timber native trees could potentially be sustainably cultivated in the study zone in diffforest plantations and agroforestry schemes of coffee, cacao, cardamom and cattle; considering their suitdiversified systems, growth performance and farmer’s preferences, Swietenia macrophylla, Cedrela odordonnell-smithii, Calophyllum brasiliense and Cordia alliodora were the species with the higher potentiain plantations. However, several unsolved problems continue restricting the cultivation of these species itherefore, is essential a careful design and management.

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