Growth in pure and mixed plantations of tree species used in reforesting rural areas of the humid region of Costa Rica, Central America.
This paper compares productivity of native tree species plantations, in monoculture and mixtures, at La Selva Biological Station in the Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica. In monocultures, Jacaranda copaia, Vochysia guatemalensis, and Vochysia ferruginea were the most productive of 10 species compared. However, J. copaia and V. guatemalensis grew significantly faster in mixtures than in monocultures. A mixture of J. copaia, V. guatemalensis, and Calophyllum brasiliense produced 21% more merchantable volume than a monoculture of J. copaia, which grew the fastest of the three species. Mixed plantations of Dipteryx panamensis, Virola koschnyi, and Terminalia amazonia had productivity rates similar to monocultures of the fastest growing of these species (Virola koschnyi). The productivity of mixed plantations of V. ferruginea, Hyeronima alchorneoides, Genipa americana, and Balizia elegans was intermediate from the respective species' productivities in monocultures. Cultivating tree species in mixtures affected species' growth forms and ability to persist on the site.