Maria Veronica Chang Estrella
Panama's Azuero Peninsula, which comprehends predominantly of tropical dry forests, has a long history of cultivation, cattle ranching and urban expansion. The Azuero Peninsula is also one of the most endangered and severely deforested territories of Panama. Anthropogenic related drivers have exposed this biome to continuous degradation and consequently the loss of unique biodiversity and weakening of ecosystem services provided. In Azuero, conventional cattle ranching practices have dominated this region, decreasing on-farm productivity. Among other pathways, degraded cattle pastures may be abandoned or rehabilitated to support diversity, and quality and quantity of ecosystem services. The Association of Livestock and Agro-Silvopastoral Producers of Pedasi (APASPE) has become leader in implementing sustainable cattle ranching practices and forest restoration projects. The performance of the APASPE on-farm reforestation plantings in riparian areas is important in terms of illustrating the success or failure of native species when established in cattle ranching landscapes. The objective of this study was to evaluate the success of tropical dry forest reforestation with 19 native species, after 4 years of plantation through the indicators of establishment success, forest growth success, and biomass and carbon sequestration. Results from these studies will illustrate the performance of native species and potential economic benefits from timber species plantations and agroforestry systems. Additionally, the results will be utilized to develop a restoration strategy case study and other training materials for local stakeholders.