Outside of agroforestry disciplines, “orchards” and “forests” are usually studied through different fields of knowledge or are mired in conflicting views. Our study aimed to provide preliminary information on regeneration in cashew orchards by studying the effect of previous land cover, the surrounding landscape, and orchards’ age on the density of species and number of plants. We followed linear transects in orchards planted in areas previously covered by savannah and forest. We found typical forest species growing in the understory, even in orchards previously occupied by savannah or as old as 42 years. The density of species is higher in orchards planted in previously forested plots and in more forested environments. Species density in the understory decreases as orchards get older, but it seems that it increases again after a certain age threshold. This study shows that cashew orchards in Cantanhez retain their potential for succession to forest, and highlights the continuum that may exist between orchards and forests. More research is needed to assess a possible “forestization” of the savannahs through cashew plantations.
- cashew orchards
- vegetation succession