Reforestation through homegarden-based natural regeneration

Study finds tropical home gardens to be crucial sinks of wild native trees with important potential for reforestation

Data resources used via GBIF : 250 species
Tabebuia rosea
Pink poui (Tabebuia rosea) by jmoralesrbpc via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

Providing ecological, economic and socio-cultural values to local communities, tropical home gardens (THG) are diversified agroforestry systems also supporting important ecosystem services such as pollination and decomposition. THGs may also act as both sinks and sources of tropical biodiversity, however, quantitative evaluation of such dynamics remain largely lacking.

In this study, authors examined abundance and diversity of wild native trees in THGs in the lowlands of Tabasco state in southeast Mexico–completely deforested in the 1950s and onwards–while assessing the role of tree cover fragmentation and socio-management. They inventoried a random selection of 59 THGs in 19 villages equally spread across the region, using GBIF to validate the origin of plant species observed.

Their analysis revealed that while tree cover fragmentation affects the level of self-established vs. planted trees, socio-management–i.e. complex gardens with species-knowledgable owners–plays a bigger role also in terms of density of native trees and individual species’ abundances.

Showing that THGs are important sinks for wild native trees, the study concludes that homegarden-based natural regeneration may be a key resource in reforestation.

Link to original article

Rooduijn B, Bongers F and van der Wal H (2018) Wild native trees in tropical homegardens of Southeast Mexico: Fostered by fragmentation, mediated by management. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. Elsevier BV 254: 149–161. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.agee.2017.10.015.

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