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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Initial Soil Properties on Three-Year Performance of Six Tree Species in Tropical Dry Forest Restoration Plantings

1
Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Conservación, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Universidad 1001, Colonia Chamilpa, Cuernavaca 62209, Mexico
2
Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, Universidad 1001, Colonia Chamilpa, Cuernavaca 62209, Mexico
3
Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(5), 428; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10050428
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 14 May 2019 / Accepted: 15 May 2019 / Published: 17 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Monitoring and Management of Forest Recovery)
Deforestation of tropical dry forest reduces soil fertility, with negative effects on future restoration intervention. To evaluate the effect of initial soil properties on three-year performance of six tree species in restoration settings, we measured C, N, and P contents in topsoils of 48 plots under minimal (exclusions of livestock grazing) and maximal (plantings of six native species) restoration intervention during two years in tropical dry forest in central Mexico. Survival and height and diameter relative growth rates were evaluated by species and by growth rank (three fast- and three slow-growing species). After two years, organic C and the C:N ratio increased early during natural succession; these increases might be related to high density of N2-fixing recruits at both intervention levels. Changes in N availability for plants (i.e., NO3 and NH4+ contents) occurred after cattle exclusion. After 40 months, the fast-growing legume Leucaena esculenta (DC.) Benth. had the highest survival (65.55%) and relative growth rate in both height (3.16%) and diameter (5.67%). Fast-growing species had higher survival and diameter growth rates than slow-growing species. Higher diameter growth rates for fast-growing species may be associated with a higher ability to forage for soil resources, whereas similar height growth rates for slow and fast-growing species suggested low competition for light due to slow natural succession at the site. Planted seedlings had higher survival possibly due to initial high NO3 content in the soil. Also, fast-growing species seem to benefit from initially higher pH in the soil. Both soil properties (i.e., pH and NO3) may be augmented to favor the performance of fast-growing species in restoration plantings and to further accelerate soil recovery in tropical dry forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: growth rank; Mexico; plant growth; Sierra de Huautla; soil carbon; soil nutrients; soil nitrogen; restoration intervention; restoration plantings; tropical deciduous forest growth rank; Mexico; plant growth; Sierra de Huautla; soil carbon; soil nutrients; soil nitrogen; restoration intervention; restoration plantings; tropical deciduous forest
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carrasco-Carballido, V.; Martínez-Garza, C.; Jiménez-Hernández, H.; Márquez-Torres, F.; Campo, J. Effects of Initial Soil Properties on Three-Year Performance of Six Tree Species in Tropical Dry Forest Restoration Plantings. Forests 2019, 10, 428.

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