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Rehabilitating abandoned pastures in Panama: Control of the invasive exotic grass, saccharum Spontaneum L., using artificial shade treatments

Citation
Kim TJ, Montagnini F & Dent D (2008) Rehabilitating abandoned pastures in Panama: Control of the invasive exotic grass, saccharum Spontaneum L., using artificial shade treatments, Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 26 (3), pp. 192-203.

Abstract
The exotic grass, Saccharum spontaneum L., has invaded abandoned agricultural lands in the Panama Canal Watershed for decades. The grass aggressively competes with regenerating tree seedlings preventing natural forest regeneration. To estimate effectual light level for controlling the grass, the growth of S. spontaneum was measured under a range of artificial shading conditions. Five shade treatment subplots-light intensities of 100% (full sunlight), 50, 25, 15, and 5%-were established at each of eight plots in land adjacent to the Panama Canal Watershed. Each site was cleared of S. spontaneum and then the regrowth was harvested. The regrowth of the grass was harvested and measured four times every one and half months for six months. The biomass of S. spontaneum was significantly less in lower light conditions than in full sunlight. The results showed that comparing growth of the grass at each harvest date, except for the first harvest date, there were significant differences between full sunlight and light intensities of 5, 15 and 25%. When compared by different harvest dates for each light level, only full sunlight showed a significant difference in biomass of the grass. The study demonstrates that shading is an effective method for controlling S. spontaneum. The results can be applied to developing reforestation strategies for abandoned lands occupied by S. spontaneum.

Keywords
Abandoned land; forest regeneration; invasive species; Panama Canal Watershed; restoration; Saccharum spontaneum L.; shading

StatusPublished
AuthorsKim Taek Joo, Montagnini Florencia, Dent Daisy
Publication date2008
PublisherTaylor and Francis
ISSN 1054-9811
LanguageEnglish

Journal
Journal of Sustainable Forestry: Volume 26, Issue 3 (2008)

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