Description of plantation resources
Plantations are established for production of timber and fuelwood, protection against wind and erosion, research, production of seed and education. Plantations are both, public and private. (Solórzano, 1994).
Development of forest plantations
The first registered plantations were established in 1964, in several regions, using Tectona grandis. In the 1960s and 1970s, efforts to establish plantations were mainly done with the assistance of international organizations or on private lands.
In the 1980s, programmes to establish plantations were initiated through partnerships between the government and international co-operators. Therefore, the area of plantations greatly increased, reaching 21 494 ha in 1993. (Solórzano, 1994)
In 1992, the Plan de Acción Forestal (PAF) was initiated. In terms of plantation establishment, the purposes were to stop shifting cultivation and to return land under low-intensive agriculture or cattle grazing to forest land. (INRNA, 1992)
In 1992, an incentive programme, FONDOSILVA, was created. MARENA, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, executes this programme to stimulate the development of forestry by granting incentives for the management of natural forests and forest plantations (DGF, 1996).
During 1996 and 1997, 2 100 ha of plantations were established in degraded areas under the FONDOSILVA programme. Forty percent of the area established were industrial plantations while the rest were aimed at producing fuelwood (DGF, 1998).
Pinus spp. and Eucalyptus spp. comprise more than 90 percent of the plantations. Pinus spp. account for approximately 67 percent and Eucalyptus spp. for 26 percent. Pinus spp. are preferred in Nueva Segovia and Matagalpa. Eucalyptus spp. are planted throughout the country, especially in regions facing the Pacific Ocean where good quality trees can be produced. The rest of the species planted are mainly broadleaved species (Solórzano, 1994).
PAF suggests that, to develop the forest resources of the country, industrial plantations be established on degraded lands, and fuelwood plantations be established in the Pacific and Central regions where very few forests are left. To implement this, financial incentives and credit lines for the establishment of plantations are suggested (INRNF, 1992).
Landowners do not usually establish forest plantations for industrial purposes due to the large amount of investment required, especially at the beginning, and due to uncertainties about marketing the wood produced.
In many instances, forest plantations have been established without any strategy or plan and, in many cases, they have inadequate maintenance or management (INRNA, 1992 and Solórzano, 1994).
Boyd, E. 1998. A compilation of forest plantation statistics for selected African and Latin American countries.
DGF. 1996. Boletin estadístico forestal 1992-1996. Dirección General Forestal.
DGF. 1998. Informe nacional de la situación forestal período 1996-1997. Dirección General Forestal.
INRNA. 1992. Plan de acción forestal, Nicaragua, 1. Documento base. Instituto Nicaraguense de Recursos Naturales y del Ambiente.
Solórzano, M.C. 1994. Las plantaciones forestales en Nicaragua, Silvoenergia No. 58 Septiembre de 1994, CATIE.