The legacy of forest management in tropical forests: analysis of its long-term influence with ecosystem models

J. A. Blanco, E. González


Forest management can modify key ecosystem attributes, affecting tree growth long after the end of forest management. Long-term influence of current management on forest recovery has been explored with the FORECAST model in Pinus caribaea Morelet plantations in western Cuba. Management for three different products was simulated: biomass, fibre and timber, with differences in rotation length and harvest intensity. Our results show that biomass production can produce ecosystem degradation that may need centuries to recover. If fibre is the objective of management, ecosystem recovery would be faster than managing for bioenergy. However, only if timber is the final objective the ecosystem might be able to keep similar conditions to the natural forest. In conclusion, our results show that forest management legacies can be a key factor in accelerating of delaying forest ecosystem recovery, depending on the exploitation intensity. These results also show the utility of ecosystem-level management models to analyze alternative management scenarios and their effects on the forest ecosystem.


Ecological legacies; planted forests, disturbance emulation; ecological model; FORECAST; Cuba; Pinus caribaea

Full Text:


DOI: 10.5424/fs/2010192-01319