Growth and survival of trees planted in an oil palm plantation: implications for restoration of biodiversity
Oil palm production is rapidly expanding across the tropics. Expanding oil palm plantations is an important driver of tropical deforestation and thus species loss. Oil palm plantations can be made more hospitable to biodiversity by planting indigenous trees inside the plantations. However, because planting trees in cleared lands involves many complex and sometimes difficult silvicultural activities, suitability of the tree species chosen must be determined prior to planting. To examine the feasibility of planting for biodiversity restoration, 351 seedlings of various species (< 1 m tall) were planted along a river in an oil palm plantation in Peninsular Malaysia in 2003. Survival rate over the study period was very high (> 90% year⁻¹). The planted species thrived in wet riverbank soil. Both survival and growth of planted trees suggested that biodiversity restoration planting was highly silviculturally feasible.