The Tree Planting and Protecting Culture of Cattle Ranchers and Small-scale Agriculturalists in Rural Panama: Opportunities for Reforestation and Land Restoration

Garena, E.J., K. Saltonstall, M.S. Ashton, J.L. Slusser, S. Mathias and J.S. Hall

Publication Date:

To examine the opportunities available for designing diverse tree planting and land restoration initiatives in agricultural landscapes that contain tropical dry forests, the tree planting and protecting practices of cattle ranchers and small-scale agriculturalists were examined in two study sites in rural Panama. Ninety-nine tree species were identified that they utilize, plant, or protect on their land, the majority of which are native to Panama. The farmers had diverse reasons for maintaining trees, including improving the environment, providing food and shade for cattle, and generating a source of wood for construction, furniture, and firewood. Most of the trees mentioned in the study provide multiple uses and values and the majority of farmers wanted to plant additional trees. Some differences in species preferences and motivations for planting and protecting trees were seen between sites, thereby suggesting that land restoration and tree planting projects should be site specific. Our data indicate that there are ample opportunities to increase native tree cover in our study sites and highlight the need to incorporate farmer input into project design, implementation, and evaluation as a necessary and continuous feature throughout projects.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Forest Ecology and Management