Frank H. Wadsworth


Volunteer, International Institute of Tropical Forestry

Now that the island is more than half covered with forests and we are having an unprecedented number of students searching for the ecology of nature in Puerto Rico there is an unexpected fundamental source of information about the trees and forests that appeared between 1940 and 1964.  It was also a period in which the objectives were different. Reservation of abandoned farmland called for reforestation. It called for trees propagated, adapted, fast growing, and productive of useful woods.

Tree propagation in nurseries rose to 9 million trees per year, and in a 9-year period more than 29 million trees were planted.  The number of tree species used was 500, 190 natives and 310 introduced species. An array of sites throughout the island was included, making the findings of interest almost everywhere. Much was learned and documented about both failures (roughly 1/3) and successes.  Within the remaining natural forests the comparative growth rates of many species of trees under different conditions led to a practice for greatly accelerated tree growth.

Specific findings included:

  • Seed culture and propagation of valuable tree species
  • Solutions to pest problems in tree nurseries.
  • Limitations of adaptation and rapid growth of native species
  • Potentials of tree species rapid growing elsewhere
  • Potentials of the world’s most prized tropical timber species
  • The most promising tree species for each of the public forests.
  • Land preparation for forest replanting
  • Planting practice
  • Weed control in young plantations
  • Thinning of plantations and growth effects
  • Forest density reduction and productivity effects
  • Puerto Rico’s woods, their properties and values
  • Seasoning and preservation of local woods

Results are published in the Caribbean Forester, copies indexed on a disk and copies available at the International Institute of Tropical Forestry library.

Study reports on forest areas:

  • Aguirre 9                              Mona 3
  • Cambalache 17                     Río Abajo 2
  • Carite 16                               Río Piedras 4
  • El Yunque 48                     St. Just 7
  • Guajataca 19                         Susúa 7
  • Guánica 14                           Toro Negro 28
  • Guilarte 9                             Virgin Islands 18
  • Maricao 16

Native tree species with 5 references or more in the journal

Alchornea latifolia  7

Alchorneopsis portoricensis  9

Anacardium occidentale  9

Andira inermis  28

Avicennia germinans  9

Buchenavia tetraphylla  23

Bucida buceras  23

Bursera simaruba  17

Byrsonima cuneata  6

Byrsonima spicata  20

Calophyllum calaba  43

Cecropia schreberiana  29

Cedrela odorata  44

Ceiba pentandra  5

Citharexylum fruticosum  18

Coccoloba diversifolia  6

Coccoloba grandiflora  6

Coccoloba uvifera  6

Colubrina arborescens  13

Cordia alliodora  55

Cordia nítida  6

Cordia sulcata  6

Cupania americana  10

Cyrilla antillana  16

Dacryodes excelsa  45

Dipholis salicifolia  5

Eugenia aeruginea  5

Eugenia stahlii  10

Ficus laevigata  6

Genipa americana  9

Guaiacum officinale  26

Guarea guidonia  48

Guazuma ulmifolia  9

Henriettia squamulosa  13

Hernandia sonora  13

Hieronima clusioides  17

Homalium racemosum  12

Hufelandia pendula  7

Hura crepitans  5

Hymenaea courbaril  29

Inga laurina  20

Inga vera  19

Linociera domingensis 11

Lonchocarpus latifolius  5

Magnolia portoricensis  10

Magnolia splendens  15

Manilkara bidentata  38

Mayapea domingensis  19

Micropholis chrysophylloides  26

0Micropholis garcinifolia  13

Ocotea leucoxylon  10

Ocotea moschata  21

Ocotea spathulata  15

Ochroma lagopus  13

Ormosia krugii  12

Petitia domingensis  37

Phyllanthus nobilis  6

Pouteria multiflora  25

Prestoea montana  11

Prunus occidentalis  7

Rhizophora mangle  11

Sabal causiarum  6

Schefflera morototoni  23

Sideroxylon foetidissimum  11

Sloanea berteriana  23

Spondias mombin  9

Stahlia monosperma  9

Tabebuia heterophylla  53

Tabebuia rigida  11

Tetragastris balsamífera  26

Tetrazygia eleagnoides  5

Thespesia grandiflora  28

Vitex divaricata  23

Zanthoxylum flavum  18

Zanthoxylum martinicense  6

Introduced tree species with 10 references or more

Albizzia lebbeck  13

Casuarina equisetifolia  49

Cupressus lusitanica  16

Eucalyptus alba  10

Eucalyptus resinífera  15

Eucalyptus robusta  31

Eugenia jambos  270

Hibiscus elatus  17

Laguncularia racemosa  22

Pinus caribaea  28

Prosopis pallida  13

Senna siamea  20

Swietenia macrophylla  63

Swietenia mahagoni  83

Tectona grandis  51



  1. Reblogged this on Potter's Weal and commented:
    Frank Wadsworth’s useful blog on things forestal in the insular Caribbean has this valuable review of information in back issues of the “Caribbean Forester.”


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