Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Rehabilitation of degraded lands in Misiones, Argentina.

Abstract

Misiones Province, in Argentina, covers less than 1% of the total area of the country but harbors almost 40% of its biodiversity and produces over 70% of its timber. Forest clearing has caused substantial changes, and alternative land uses have become necessary due to soil degradation and land abandonment. This article presents the results of land rehabilitation projects using indigenous tree species. In 1990-1991, trials began to test mixed plantations and agroforestry with Hex paraguariensis. Enterolobium contortisiliquum and Astronium balansae showed the best growth on poor soils. Balfourodendron riedelianum, a valued tree in this region, had excellent performance on fertile soils and with adequate management. The association of trees with I. paraguariensis appeared appropriate, since I. paraguariensis harvests bring short-term returns on investments. Enrichment trials were established in 1988-1990 in overexploited forests. Seven years after planting, the best species were Bastardiopsis densiflora, E. contortisiliquum, Nectandra lanceolata, Ocotea puberula, and Peltophorum dubium. In the Guarani Reserve, the best species at thirteen years were O. puberula, B. densiflora, and Cordia trichotoma. These species also have beneficial effects on soils, and can thus improve the condition of degraded forests. Incorporating species with a shorter harvest age (Euterpe edulis palm) can accelerate investment returns. These results are being used to promote tree planting in community forestry projects. Researchers provide tree seedlings, help planting and advise on establishment and caring. Initial results are promising, and other municipalities are joining the projects.