Philip Kunhardt, MFS

2014 TRI Fellow in Brazil

Growth performance of native species reforestation on old fields in the Atlantic rain forest region, Bahia, Brazil

The Brazilian Atlantic Forest is one of the most fragmented and deforested forests in the world, yet it possesses some of the highest rates of unique species diversity in the world. Three centers, including southeastern part of Bahia state and the state of Espírito Santo, are especially diverse in endemic species. The conversion of forests to agriculture and pasture changes soil fertility and structure and can affect the ability of planted trees to grow and survive with reforestation programs. Carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, and pH are critical properties that affect growth and survival of planted tree species. Knowledge of which particular species grows best on a particular soil-type is essential to future reforestation efforts.

The Serra do Conduru State Park is now at the center of a reforestation strategy to unite forest fragments in Bahia so as to provide a critical mass of restored forest required to enable the gene flow and survival of endemic species. Five sites replanted by Instituto Floresta Viva were selected and all natural regeneration and planted trees were measured for DBH, height, and crown class within four randomly selected 25 meter by 25 meter plots per site. Four soil samples from the 0-10cm horizon and four soil samples from the 40-50cm horizons were collected from the corners of each plot. The soils will be analyzed for soil nutrients, soil organic carbon, and pH, and will be set against tree data to examine the relationship between soil characteristics and tree growth.