Agua Salud (Panama)

The Native Species Plantation within the overall Agua Salud Project was established in 2008. The plantation is designed to test hypotheses related to the growth and development of native species in monocultures and mixtures as well as ecosystem function and services. Native timber species were chosen as target species as the overall theme of the project is related to understanding ecosystem services and as carbon credits alone will not cover the establishment and management costs of plantations in Panama.

The Agua Salud Native Species Plantation is approximately 75 hectares and is divided into two blocks of roughly equivalent size that are 3 kilometres apart. Each block contains 21 different treatments (mixtures), each treatment present in 6 or more replicate plots. The plots are randomly distributed within a block.
The species were selected based on physiological and morphological traits, and the target species are long-lived pioneer species.

treatments Agua Salud block Agua Salud
The 21 species mixtures (treatments). The colors indicate the five target species; white indicates the five companion species. One of the two blocks, with the plots of different treatments randomly distributed throughout the block. Dark green areas are plots and instrumented watershed within the secondary forest dynamics study of the Agua Salud Project.

Site characteristics

location Agua Salud
former land use cattle pasture
altitude 200-300 m
soil type Oxisols
area 41 ha (plots), 75 ha (total area)
no of plots 267
plot size
no of trees planted 60 075
planting date July-September 2008
diversity variables species richness
diversity gradient 1, 2, 5, 6 sp.
size species pool 5 + 5
species pool timber species: Anacardium excelsum, Dalbergia retusa, Pachira quinata, Tabebuia rosea, Terminalia amazonia
companion species: Erytrina fusca, Gliricidia sepium, Inga punctat, Luehea seemannii, Ochroma pyramidale
contact person Jefferson Hall

A meteorological station sends meteo data in real time to the web.

Extra information

For more information on the Agua Salud experiment, send an e-mail to the contact persons, visit the website of the Agua Salud project, or explore the publications:

  • Mayoral C, Van Breugel M, Cerezo A, Hall JS (2017) Survival and growth of five Neotropical timber species in monocultures and mixtures. Forest Ecology and Management 403: 1-11 - doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2017.08.002

aerial view block monoculture plot
Native Species Plantation and Secondary Succession Watersheds after planting (early 2009, dry season) Terminalia amazonia monoculture plot in March 2013 (4.5 years old)