Forest plantations are a possible way of increasing forest productivity in temperate and tropical forests, and therefore also increasing above- and belowground carbon pools. In the context of climate change, monospecific plantations might become an alternative to mitigate global warming; however, their contribution to the structural complexity, complementarity, and biodiversity of forests has not been addressed. Mixed forest plantations can ensure that objectives of climate change mitigation are met through carbon sequestration, while also delivering anticipated ecosystem services (e.g., nutrient cycling, erosion control, and wildlife habitat). However, mixed forest plantations pose considerable operational challenges and research opportunities. For example, it is essential to know how many species or functional traits are necessary to deliver a set of benefits, or what mixture of species and densities are key to maintaining productive plantations and delivering multiple ecosystem services. At the same time, the establishment of forest plantations in Mexico should not be motivated solely by timber production. Forest plantations should also increase carbon sequestration, maintain biodiversity, and provide other ecosystem services. This article analyzes some matters that affect the development of planted forests in the Mexican national context, and presents alternatives for forest resources management through the recommendation of mixed forest plantations as a means of contributing to climate change mitigation and the delivery of ecosystem services.
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