Moving towards the ecological intensification of tree plantations

Susana Gómez-González* (Corresponding author), Maria Paniw, José Luis Blanco-Pastor, Ana I. García-Cervigón, Oscar Godoy, José M. Herrera, Antonio Lara, Alejandro Miranda, Fernando Ojeda, Raúl Ochoa-Hueso

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The growing demand for timber and the boom in massive tree-planting programs could mean the spreading of mismanaged tree plantations worldwide. Here, we apply the concept of ecological intensification to forestry systems as a viable biodiversity-focused strategy that could be critical to develop productive, yet sustainable, tree plantations. Tree plantations can be highly productive if tree species are properly combined to complement their ecological functions. Simultaneously considering soil biodiversity and animal-mediated biocontrol will be critical to minimize the reliance on external inputs. Integrating genetic, functional, and demographic diversity across heterogeneous landscapes should improve resilience under climate change. Designing ecologically intensified plantations will mean breaking the timber productivity versus conservation dichotomy and assuring the maintenance of key ecosystem services at safe levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)637-645
Number of pages9
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number7
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • biodiversity conservation
  • ecological intensification
  • ecosystem services
  • resilience
  • sustainable forest management
  • timber yield


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