background pattern

Nurse Plants to Improve Survival of Oyamels in Reforestation Programs

With climate change challenges in mind, establishing a "Nurse Plant" shrub canopy to aid Oyamel reforestation efforts is being explored.

March 29, 2024

Measuring Baccharis conferta at “El Llano del Conejo”
Measuring Baccharis conferta at “El Llano del Conejo”

Reforestation in harsh environments is challenging. Using nurse plants to provide a microhabitat that buffers moisture and temperature extremes can allow seedlings to get established more easily. With this in mind, Dr. Ana Gabriela Zacarías-Correa, from the University of Michoacán in San Nicolás de Hidalgo, is evaluating the survival and growth of three shrub species (i.e., nurse plants) planted at three sites in the MBBR’s core zone by Dr. Cuauhtemoc Saénz and his colleagues on July, 2022. 

In February 2024, Gabriela monitored the sites and found average survival for each species:  74% for coyote brush (Baccharis conferta), 63% for snakeroot (Eupatorium glabratum), and 43% for ragwort (Senecio sp.). In terms of average growth, the results were: 48.07 cm for coyote brush, 56.03 cm for snakeroot, and 70.06 cm for ragwort. Average survival through winter for each of species did not change significantly; however, snakeroot survival did decrease some likely due to this species being more sensitive to winter frost.

Gabriela will continue to monitor the plants until Fall 2024. Her observations and final results will contribute to the development of better reforestation strategies for the future.

Back to all projects