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Location and management objective:

The Native Species Plantations within the Agua Salud Focal Research Area are divided into two blocks and designed to test hypotheses related to the growth and development of native timber species in monocultures and mixtures as well as ecosystem function and services. More details (PDF)

Area: 75 hectares total. Approximately 37 hectares in block 2 are above the weir and thus define the area monitored for catchment related studies of hydrology.

History: Block 1 of the Native Species Plantations abuts Soberania National Park and is spread across what were, prior to acquisition, four adjacent properties with similar land use history and vegetation cover. Though at one time high, when acquired, cattle density on the land was low (between 0.1 and 0.2 per hectare). Vegetation was dominated by very young secondary forest (< 5 years old) and patches of active pasture, including a low density of shrubs and fruit trees (Craven et al., 2008a). All land was cleared of vegetation in areas where plantations were established. The establishment and management of the native species plantations is through a contract issued by the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Block 2 of the Native Species Plantations is located at the headwaters of the Mendoza River. A herd of 36 cattle were maintained on this property until May 2008 such that the density across area grazed was approximately 0.75 head of cattle per hectare. Historically densities were approximately 1.3 head of cattle per hectare. Four distinct vegetation types were recognizable at the time of acquisition of this property: pasture, grazed very young secondary forest, wooded pasture with Terminalia amazonia, and area where cattle had been removed 1.5 years prior to acquisition (secondary succession catchment) (Craven et al. 2008b). As with block 1 of these plantations, all land was cleared outside of riparian zones and forest for the establishment of plantations.

Vegetation type: Native species plantations include 21 different treatments where five timber (Anacardium excelsum, Dalbergia retusa, Pachira quinata, Tabebuia rosea, and Terminalia amazonia ) and five companion species (Erytrina fusca, Gliricidia sepium, Inga punctata, Luehea seemannii, Ochroma pyramidale ) are planted in different treatments (see van Breugel and Hall, 2008). Trees were planted in September-October 2008; approximately 25 hectares of these plantations are buffers outside of experimental plots.


Hydrology: No hydrological infrastructure is present in block 1. Monitoring in block 2 includes precipitation rain gage stream flow (level troll model 300; ISCO model 6712), well level (level troll model 300) and evapotranspiration [ET gages model A y E]. In addition studies will be initiated to monitoring through fall, interception, and overland flow.

Vegetation: Regular monitoring includes growth performance of trees in block 1 and 2.

Soil: chemical properties of soil in block 1 and 2. In block 2 the physical characteristics of soil in relation to soil hydrology , soil nutrients and carbon are being monitored.

Water chemistry: three broad types of water samples are collected: grab samples (stream water, throughfall, overland flow, groundwater), stream-water event samples, and wet-dry collector rainwater samples. Analysis of many dissolved and solid phases including bioactive, major, and trace constituents (PDF).

Meteorology: a meteorological station measures precipitation [rain gage , rain gage model 260-2501M]; solar radiation [pyranometer LI200X]; wind speed [wind speed sensor 014A] and direction [three dimensional anemometer CSAT3]; temperature [107 temperatura probe; thermocouple FW05; temperatura probe CS107]; CO2 y H2O flux [open path infrared analizar LI-7500]; surface radiation [net radiometer CNR1], and soil temperature [soil heat flux plates HFPO1SC].