Tree diversity in a tropical agricultural-forest mosaic landscape in Honduras

Sci Rep. 2022 Nov 3;12(1):18544. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-21280-7.

Abstract

Biodiversity decline in the tropics requires the implementation of comprehensive landscape management where agricultural systems are necessarily an integral element of biodiversity conservation. This study evaluates the potential for taxonomic biodiversity conservation within an intensive livestock-agricultural-forest mosaic landscape in Catacamas, Honduras. Tree sampling was performed in 448 plots set up within different forest and agricultural land uses: secondary forests, agroforestry coffee plantations, agriculture, pastures, live fences and riparian forest. All trees with a minimum diameter at breast height of 10 cm were identified and measured. We characterized their tree structure and diversity, and compared tree diversity between the different uses. The results indicate a high degree of tree species diversity: 375 species identified, belonging to 74 families among the 15,096 trees inventoried across 84.2 hectares, including many rare species (40% of the species registered three individuals or fewer). Biodiversity indices for agroforestry coffee were found equivalent to those for natural secondary forests in the Catacamas landscape. Combining biodiversity conservation and agricultural production is possible in human-pressured tropical landscapes through tree cover maintenance. Enrichment practices combining local producers and technical knowledge may improve tree diversity in agricultural landscapes by prioritizing a mix of forest and introduced tree species (rare and with multiple uses).

MeSH terms

  • Agriculture*
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation of Natural Resources
  • Ecosystem
  • Forests*
  • Honduras
  • Humans
  • Tropical Climate