Plantations of multi-purpose tree species can play an important role in restoring productivity, ecosystem stability, and biological diversity to degraded tropical lands. The present study, conducted at a degraded coastal pasture site in Puerto Rico, compares 4.5-year-old Aibizia lebbek (L.) Benth. plantation stands and adjacent control areas with respect to biomass production, understorey species diversity and nutrient storage patterns within vegetation, forest floor organic matter, and mineral soil compartments. Species richness was considerably greater in plantation than control plots for grasses, vines, and forbs. Seedlings of several secondary forest species were abundant in the plantation understorey but absent in control plots, suggesting an important role for such plantations in accelerating natural regeneration of native forest species on certain sites.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment