Latin America and Caribbean

Experiences with capacity building for ecological restoration in Latin America

Background

Landscape scale restoration initiatives are experiencing an increasing popularity, specifically in Latin America. Yet, these initiatives not only require an ecological understanding but also a holistic focus on the socio-economic. To do so, it is critical to promote capacity building in conjunction with these initiatives. Capacity building both improves the technical skills of stakeholders while also increasing the institutional capacity and leadership of all parties. This paper highlights six organizations who are successfully strengthening capacity for ecological restoration in Latin America. 

Open access copy available

Functional divesity changes during tropical forest succession

Background

This paper evaluates changes in species richness and functional diversity during tropical secondary forest succession following shifting cultivation in Chiapas, Mexico, particularly examining whether speces richness is a good predictor of functional diversity. Functional diversity was calculated based on a combination of nine functional traits, and two individual traits important for primary production (specific leaf area) and carbon sequestration (wood density).

Open access copy available

Anthropogenic disturbance in tropical forests can double biodiversity loss from deforestation

Background

The authors examined the impacts of anthropogenic disturbances within a forest on the ability of the forest to conserve biodiversity and provide ecosytem services. The research used large data sets of plants, birds, and dung beetles and used them as indicators of biodiversity change in the forest.

Open access copy available

Targeted habitat restoration can reduce extinction rates in fragmented forests

Background

Habitat lost is one of the primary drivers of species extinction. This study examines two highly-fractured ecosystems, the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania and the Atlantic Forest of Brazil, and evaluates the rate at which habitat loss may lead to extinction and thus biodiversity loss. Specifically, the authors use halflife vs. area relationship to determine how long it will take to lose one-half of all tropical bird communities in each habitat. 

Open access copy available

Factors Affecting Mortality and Resistance to Damage Following Hurricanes in a Rehabilitated Subtropical Moist Forest

Background

This study was conducted in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), which was previously abandoned pastureland reforested through mixed planting and natural regeneration.

Available with subscription or purchase

Tropical Montane Forest Restoration in Costa Rica: Overcoming Bariers to Dispersal and Establishment

Background

The article addressed different types of environmental and ecological factors limiting forest regeneration on a tropical montane abandoned pasture in Costa Rica, and the subsequent forest restoration strategies that could be feasible.  The authors sought to answer the following questions: 1) What factors limit tropical forest recovery in abandoned pasture? and (2) How can we use this information to design strategies to facilitate ecosystem recovery?

Open access copy available

Screening of native plant species for phytoremediation potential at a Hg-contaminated mining site

Background

This study was conducted in one of the most important Artisanal and small-scale (ASGM) gold-mining sites in Colombia, to identify native plant species growing in Mercury contaminated soils used for agricultural purposes, and to assess their potential as phytoremediation systems.

Available with subscription or purchase

Industrial Resource Extraction and Infrastructure Development in Tropical Forests

Background

This publication summarizes the proceedings of a 2012 conference held in Panama City, Panama titled "Industrial Resource Extraction and Infrastructure Development in Tropical Forests" The conference sought to explore how the continued increase in economic interest in natural resource extraction can be beneficial connected to the protection of tropical forests. The conference gathered scientists, decision makers, academics, government officials, representatives from NGOs and the private sector, and community and indigenous leaders and involved opening and closing remarks along with four panels. 

Open access copy available

Drug Policy as Conservation Policy: Narco-Deforestation

Background

Central America exploded into prominence as a drug trafficking corridor in the last decade. The authors documented that an unprecedented flow of cocaine into Central America “coincided with a period of extensive forest loss”. The authors discuss the evidence that supports the idea that "trafficking of drugs (principally cocaine) has become a crucial—and overlooked—accelerant of forest loss” in Central America.

Open access copy available

Asymmetric density dependence shapes species abundances in a tropical tree community

Background

This study examined the question: why are some species common in tropical rainforests while others are rare?

Goals & Methods

The research, which used a computer modeling approach to analyze data from 20,000 1-meter squared plots, examined the degree to which being close to another individual of the same species affected the studied individual's overall abundance.

Available with subscription or purchase
Subscribe to Latin America and Caribbean