Restoration of Dry Tropical Forests in Central America: A Review of Pattern and Process

Griscom, H.P. and M.S. Ashton

Publication Date:

Much information on restoration and management exists for wet tropical forests of Central America but comparatively little work has been done in the dry forests of this region. Such information is critical for reforestation efforts that are now occurring throughout Central America. This paper describes processes of degradation due to land use and provides a conceptual framework for the restoration of dry tropical forest. Most of this forest type was initially harvested for timber and then cleared for cattle in the last century (1930–1970). Only 1.7% remains largely restricted to infertile soils and remote areas on the Pacific coastal side of Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. These cleared areas are again in a state of transition due to a combination of decreasing land productivity, and land speculation for tourism development. Some farms have been sold to new landowners who are interested in reforesting to increase biodiversity and forest cover. Attempts have therefore been made to reforest by protecting the land from fire and cattle, by supplementing natural regrowth with enrichment planting, or through use of tree plantations.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Forest Ecology and Management