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Conference: Ecology and Ecosystem Services of Native Trees, Implications for Mesoamerica


As in other regions of the world, reforestation efforts in Mesoamerica have traditionally focused on a few fast-growing and well-studied exotic tree species. However, as the challenge of climate change brings about a recognition of the key role of tropical forests in carbon sequestration, there is a growing interest in the use of native species for reforestation and land restoration. In many Mesoamerican countries, efforts have been made to understand the ecology and management of native tree species, and their integration into reforestation and land restoration activities. This conference presented a variety of data and experiences about the ecology and management of Mesoamerican native tree species, contributing to inform future reforestation efforts in the region.



Registration, welcome and opening remarks

PANEL 1. Native Species Reforestation: Where, When, Why, and How?

Moderator: Mark Ashton / Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Overcoming knowledge gaps in the use of native species for reforestation: lessons from PRORENA
Jefferson Hall / Staff Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Determinants of carbon storage in a tropical plantation
Catherine Potvin / Professor, Department of Biology, McGill University

From exotic monocultures toward native mixtures
Jack Ewel / Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology, University of Florida 

Problems in restoring native trees to a barren tropical pasture
Lynn Carpenter / Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine

Questions & answers

PANEL 2. Native Species Reforestation: Restoring Environmental Services

Moderator: Jefferson Hall / Staff Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Planting tree islands and direct seeding late-successional species as strategies to restore a montane tropical forest in Costa Rica
Rebecca Cole / Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

Ecohydrological tools for assessing watershed restoration success: what to plant, where, and how much?
Heidi Asbijornson / Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resource Ecology & Management, Iowa State University 

Strategies for recovering tropical forests in abandoned agricultural lands
Mitchell Aide / Professor, Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico

Forest restoration with high diversity: thirty years of experience in Brazil
Sergius Gandolfi / Professor, University of Sao Paolo

Questions & answers


PANEL 3. Native Trees in Agroforestry & Silvopastoral Systems

Moderator: Shibu Jose / Professor of Applied Ecology and Agroforestry, School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri

The importance of on-farm tree cover for biodiversity conservation and farm productivity in Central America
Celia Harvey / Vice President of Global Change & Ecosystem Services with the Center for Applied Biodiversity Science, Conservation International

Using agrosilvopastoral systems with native trees to recover degraded pastures in Latin America
Florencia Montagnini / Professor in the Practice of Tropical Forestry, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Mayan agriculture for native woody diversity restoration and conservation
Stewart Diemont / Assistant Professor of Ecological Engineering, State University of New York

Trees and shrubs for productive reconversion and ecological restoration of pastures in various Latin American countries
Enrique Murgueitio / Director, Center for Research on Sustainable Production Systems (CIPAV)

Questions & answers

PANEL 4. The Use and Management of Native Trees by Rural Landholders

Moderator: Arturo Cerezo / Environment, Water and Energy department, Panama’s National Panama Canal Authority (ACP)

Peasant conservationists in the Mesoamerican dry zone
Adrian J. Barrance / Overseas Development Institute

The culture of planting and protecting native trees by landholders in rural Panama: implications for designing reforestation projects
Eva Garen / Coordinator, Neotropics Training Program, Environmental Leadership  & Training Initiative

Haitian agroforestry: tree planting where native cultures and native species have become extinct
Gerald Murray / Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Florida 

The use of local knowledge in the selection of woody species for forest restoration: analysis of two experiences in Mexico
Alfonso Suárez Islas / Professor, National University of Hidalgo, Mexico   

Questions & answers  

Closing Remarks