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Growth, Production and Carbon Sequestration of Silvopastoral Systems with Native Timber Speciesin the Dry Lowlands of Costa Rica

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To test the feasibility of countering these by combining a more productive pasture system with indigenous tree species, a silvopastoral experiment was established ona farm in the seasonally dry lowlands of Cañas, Guanacaste Province. A rapidly growing pasturespecies (Brachiaria brizantha) was tested against a traditional pasture dominated by Hyparrhenia rufa. Three indigenous tree species were established: Pithecellobium saman, Diphysa robinioides and Dalbergia retusa. Contrary to competition theory, there was no effect of pasture species upon the two faster growing tree species. The carbon in above and below ground phytomass varied between 3.5 and 12.5 Mg C ha_1 in treeless pasture controls and silvopastoral systems, respectively. These early results indicate the promising potential of this silvopastoral system for combining cattle production, and increasing tree cover and carbon sequestration.