Potential of Subtropical Secondary Forest for Sustainable Fosrestry in Puerto Rico
Forero Montaña, Jimena
Brokaw, Nick (Consejero)
The development of appropriate strategies towards the sustainable use of forest products by local communities is essential to cope with forest degradation. The recent history of forest recovery in Puerto Rico offers an excellent opportunity to investigate sustainable forestry in secondary tropical forests. In this study I used data from the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program to examine the possibility for sustainable timber production in the context of the current demand for imported solid wood products on the island. I characterized the current consumption of wood products using data on external trade between Puerto Rico and other countries, to infer potential markets for locally grown woods. My results showed a general trend towards forest recovery and structural maturation. The forest, however, is still too young to sustain extensive wood production. The species composition is relatively poor compared to the current use and demand of timber species. But, in terms of annual volume increment the island could cover almost its total current demand for imported sawn-wood (149,221 m3) using local wood. The island annually invested more than US $246 million in a wide variety of solid wood products, being furniture the most important item, followed by plywood and sawn-wood. The most abundant growing stock tree species were suitable for carpentry, furniture, and construction. These results suggest that Puerto Rico’s forests have substantial capability for sustainable wood production and research on silvicultural practices. To continue advancing forest recovery it is worthy to promote the sustainable use of local wood as well as help to develop the existing forest enterprises.